Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Kevin and I are firmly in the camp of the ethnic food lovers of the house, with Indian and Asian flavors topping our list. At Kevin's high school, butter chicken is offered in the cafeteria and is one of the hottest selling things on the menu. Inspired by his constant raving over the dish, I decided to try making it. This recipe looked the best to me.

Butter chicken? Where have you been my whole life? I know that you are not low fat, nor are you dairy free, but we are SO in love with you. You are 1000 times better then the new jarred, ready made stuff on the market these days.

Can I just tell you that this is the best curried chicken I've ever eaten? It is DE-LISH.

Don't panic-the recipe looks involved, but it's not and I included my own changes, which include halving it, using thighs instead of whole chickens, and adding a bit more spices. Also you could even just skip the sauce and make the chicken in the spicy yogurt marinade, ready to shred and put into wraps or something.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Makes about 4 servings


1 cup full fat plain yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, minced
1/2 Tbsp of lime juice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala or mild curry paste (I used garam masala)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
approximately 8-10 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs

Butter Sauce:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 chopped onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala (or 1 tsp mild curry paste)
***I used garam masala and upon tasting the finished sauce, decided that it wasn't nearly spicy enough so I added 1 more tsp of garam masala, a pinch of cayenne, and about 1/4-1/2 tsp of curry)
398 ml can of plum tomatoes
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp of whipping cream
2 Tbsp of cold butter
Chopped fresh coriander

Put the yogurt into a cheesecloth lined sieve over a bowl and allow to sit for 1 hour in the fridge. The liquid will drain into the bowl-discard. Mix together the drained yogurt, garlic, ginger, lime juice, paprika, cumin, coriander, garam masala, cayenne, and salt together in a bowl.

Put the chicken thighs in a good dish for them to marinate in. I used a large glass baking dish-spoon the yogurt mixture over top, smearing and smothering all the chicken in yogurt (your hands are great for this!) Cover with plastic wrap, pop into the fridge, and allow to marinate for 24 hours.

The next day, pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Place the marinated chicken thighs on a foil lined broiling pan and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until they are no longer pink inside and when pierced, the juices run clear. Set them aside and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes before chopping them up into bite sized pieces.

Take a few deep breaths because the most incredible smell is going to emanate from your oven and fill your house.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the butter sauce. Saute the onion in the oil until it's translucent and cooked through. Sprinkle in the paprika, and masala, stirring and continue to cook for about 1 minute. Pour in the tomatoes. Using a fork, mash the tomatoes up into a paste. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until thickened.

Let cool slightly, then transfer to the blender and whiz is a bit until smooth. (at this point you can put the sauce in the fridge for up to 1 day) Return the sauce to the pan. Gently stir in the whipped cream. Over low heat, keep the sauce warm and add the butter 1 tbsp at a time, stirring just until it is melted. Don't boil the sauce! Taste for seasoning. If it is too mild, I suggest adding a small amount of curry powder a bit at a time until it is as spicy as you like it. If you like heat, add a small amount of cayenne.

Add the cooked, chopped chicken to the sauce and stir....then top with fresh coriander.

Serve with hot cooked rice.

**If you plan to freeze this recipe, cook the chicken thighs as usual and then allow them to cool. Package in a freezer bag, label, and put in the freezer. Puree the tomato sauce, pour into a plastic container, label, and freeze. When you want to make it take both from the freezer and allow them to thaw. Heat the tomato sauce slightly so it's warm, and then continue with the recipe, adding the cream and butter as above. Warm the thawed chicken slightly in the microwave to take off the chill and shred or chop, then add to the sauce as indicated in the recipe above.
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