Butter Chicken

This is honestly the first Butter Chicken recipe I’ve come across that actually tastes close to what I think Butter Chicken should taste like. I think it could still use some spice modifications, but this will be a make every once in a while recipe.

The recipe is from Mark’s Daily Apple. Below I’ve written out exactly how I did it with a couple of ideas for how to do it differently next time.

A word about spices. Why anyone still buys spices in the grocery store in little tiny plastic bottles is kind of beyond me. They are EXPENSIVE! And if you want to try just a little bit of something, you’ve still got to buy the whole damn bottle. These days, even for things I use in large quantity, I get my spices from the bulk jars at the coop. For $1.09 I bought enough cumin for three or four of this recipe. When I want to try a new spice I simply buy only a teaspoon or two or just enough for whatever recipe I’m trying it in. Simple. Cheap. And I don’t end up with a ton of spices I won’t use.

Butter Chicken
1. In a medium mixing bowl combine:
6 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
2 t garam masala
1 T ground coriander
1 T ground cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t paprika
3/4 c greek style yogurt (this turns out to be VERY important, every other recipe I’ve ever used called for regular, and I honestly think this made a huge difference)
2. Chop about 1.5 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs (this was 10 chicken thighs for us, might have been a bit over 1.5lb). Combine the chicken with the yogurt/spice mixture. Marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, ideally two.

3. In a large pan/pot (I used my small stock pot) melt 7 T butter.
4. Add 8 chopped roma tomatoes, 1 T white vinegar, 3 T tomato paste, 6 crushed cardamom pods and 1 cinnamon stick. Bring this to a boil and continue boiling until the sauce is thick, mine took about 25 min.
5. Reduce heat and add the chicken mixture. Continue simmering, stirring every once in a while until the chicken is cooked, about another 20 minutes.
6. Add 1.5 c heavy cream and heat to your liking (some commenters on the original recipe found it soupy, mine was perfectly fine, but I like sauce).
7. Serve as desired.

I have to wonder if marinating longer than an hour would help bring out the spice flavor, as I found the dish kind of mild in the bland sort of way.

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2 Responses

  1. Funny, I was just looking at the Butter Chicken at Trader Joe’s today. Re: your recipe, maybe adding some cayenne or fresh ginger would amp it up? Having not had butter chicken, I’m not sure if that would alter it so much that it wouldn’t resemble butter chicken.

    I made an Indian style curry yogurt chicken for dinner this week with a marinade of plain yogurt, garlic, fresh ginger, lemon juice, hot curry powder and salt, and let it marinate in the fridge overnight, then removed the marinade and grilled the chicken. I think marinating it overnight helped intensify the flavor.

    • It almost sounds like you followed a Tandoori chicken recipe, which typically is actually the base for making butter chicken. I do think the fresh ginger would help, as one of the comments on the original recipe suggested it. I’ll have to consider the cayenne. Butter chicken isn’t supposed to be spicy hot, but the way I made it it seemed to lack depth of flavor.

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