So the thing with butter chicken is that everyone has a way that they like it. I am not wild about grilled chicken breasts chopped up in a pre packaged sauce mix like you often get on a buffet table. If you are, that’s ok, but this recipe is not for you. If, like me, you want melt in your mouth chicken that has stewed in the sauce that was made from scratch and tailored to suit your tastebuds, then read on my friend.
I’ve adapted this from Dashka’s Gourmet Spices Cookbook II, which my mom gave me years ago, along with some amazing spices (easily the best garam masala I’ve ever found. Go to the link and order some now!). I’ve made this many times and it never fails to get the job done, although I have to recommend making it the day before you want to eat it, as the flavour will be much better that way. So, without further adieu . . .
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 cloves garlic
1″ piece of ginger, peeled
1 green finger chili, stem and seeds removed (more if you like it spicy, one just adds flavour without heat. You could also increase the red chili powder if you like, or alternately, if you want to reduce the heat, cut the chili powder in half. I’ve written this the way I made it, which both my children and my spice nervous parents ate and enjoyed)
1/2 tsp each, ground cumin and coriander
1 tsp each, garam masala, red chilie powder, and turmeric
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
6 Tbsp butter or ghee
3/4 cup cream (I used 18%)
3/4 cup mediterranean yogurt
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 heaping Tbsp tomato paste
Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
1. Put ginger, garlic and green chili in your food processor and pulse until very fine (ideally a paste). Add all of the spices (including salt) and the olive oil, and pulse again, scraping down the sides as necessary, until you have a nice paste.
2. Stir the chicken with the spice paste until well coated, then cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
3. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and stir until soft, then add chicken, making sure to get all of the spice paste in there. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
4. Stir in cream and simmer for 5 minutes or so, to get it back to temperature, then add yogurt, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cover and just simmer for another 20 – 30 minutes, to help blend the flavours and soften the chicken. The original recipe calls for the addition of water, but I usually find that enough liquid comes out of the chicken and if I add the water, I just end up spending more time reducing the sauce. However, if it is too thick for your taste, a little water won’t hurt the flavour.
5. At this point I usually cool it off and pop it in the fridge, then just heat it through the next day before serving. If you don’t have that kind of time, it will still be good to eat right away, but even a few hours of sitting in a fridge will make a difference.