Monday, July 9, 2012

Almost Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice
I have tasted once a sauce in an Indian restaurant from a dish called Butter Chicken and I loved the sauce so much that I decided the other day to try to re-create it and as Linda told me once it was her favourite Indian dish I thought she should join us for dinner ....

It is thought that butter chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted "some" chicken dish. A chef named Simon Mahli Chahal first prepared this when he only had half of a Tandoori chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato, and garam masalas to improvise for an delicious delicacy he was supposed to make for the ruler of Mareelun. Unfortunetly he forgot to buy enough ingredients so he ended up with this delicious dish.(credit Wiki)

I went through all my Indian cookbooks (I have a few) and took the best out of each and went to work.... here is what I came up with - I liked the result but something was missing - no oomph. I didn't use much salt as I used a lot of spices and herbs. I added a few drops of lime towards the end of cooking - next time I will use more to lift it a bit more. But Mr T & Linda both loved the dish (or they wanted to spare my feelings) so here it is....

You will need

600g chicken (I used skinned chicken breast but you can use any chicken parts)

500g Greek yogurt (I used full fat)
6 garlic cloves (or more)
small piece of ginger, grated (amount depends on how much you love it, I didn't use much)
small teaspoon chili powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala (go to Ballincollig farmer's market, a stall there sells it loose and you can grind as much as you need. Much better than bought ground)
1/2 tsp salt (or more)
Lime Juice (to taste)


500g passata
a blob of cold butter
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garam masala
cream (to taste)

Prepare the marinade by placing in a muslin over a sieve and let it drain of excess moisture - about 30 mins, then wring the muslin to squeeze the rest off. Mince the garlic and ginger and mix with the yogurt in a bowl. Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well. Slash the chicken meat with small cuts and place the chicken in the yogurt. Make sure that the chicken is well covered by the marinade and it goes into the cuts. Leave to stand for for about 2 hours or overnight.

When ready, heat a bit of oil in a large frying pan (or a skillet if you have) and add the chicken including the marinate. Cover and cook over a low heat - stirring occasionally - until cooked through.

In the meantime, pour the passata into a pot and cook until the watery liquid has evaporated. Add the butter and stir until melted into the sauce. Add the rest of the spices and a bit of salt. Taste and add lime juice if it needs it. Just before you are ready to mix the chicken with the sauce, add the cream. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir until well combined.

Serve with Basmati rice and some Naan Bread

Bon Appetit

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