Friday, June 22, 2018

Easy butter chicken

When a pot of cream-flecked Indian chicken you've been forever making on fleek, is being likened to the menu item the Indian joint near you serves, you may need to take a patent. And maybe a few pictures. Perhaps, also, type a few words. This restaurant version I speak of is adequately flawless, served on fancy brass, and as I understand it, has a cult following, at least in this part of the Valley. 

Thus, having a near close match might just upshot my game, a tad. Don't you think? Or, clear the haze surrounding once noble aspirations in sharing multitudes of great things that now just clutter my head, and 8 pages of unedited, skeleton posts.

Not saying that what I am about to reveal is the outcome of a blogger draft weed-and-clean, nor is BFMK a disposal ground for castoff recipes. I believe this is something so essential, kind of like a staple entry to the doors of The Exotic. And as uncomplicated as cooking can be.

So, shall we?

Butter chicken is that iconic dish, which for the most part can be paraded as a meal on its own, but  really is not. Often served as a grand spread, it would be plated with naan, maybe rice- better both- taken with dressed yoghurt, and fair amounts of pickle/condiments/chutneys. It is infinitely categorized as Indian cuisine, because if any region can incorporate spice and sauce and make it look like an absolute dietary requirement/fashion statement/stand-all, it certainly is India. 

Although grouped within the desi profile, murgh makhani is unofficially the perfect cross- continental pot of gold. It appeals to a broader circuit of people, throughout streets and kitchens of many parts of the globe. In essence, we experience brilliance; chicken zested and plushly seasoned, at the same time not making cheeks sweat and eyes bulge out from sockets. This curry that showcases the silkiest tomato gravy fares beyond several taste expectations and, is guaranteed, an attainable goal.

So, when, sometimes, ingredients and methods don't quite match up to the ideas of people who claim divine revelation on such a topic, you may find it your calling to  (ahem) respond accordingly.
Explanation models can go along the lines of...

-Yes, baking chicken allows for fantastically moist and tender pieces. This one step saves you from buying a roasting tandoor for the same purpose.

-Powdered spices work just as well as whole, maybe not to full potency, but can run as utterly close contenders.

-The idea of boiling and pureeing does not always apply in authentic butter chicken recipes, but I am theoretically a non-purist.

- the fact that a well-thought out dish can be done and plated in the time it takes to sit down and eat it, is certainly magnificence, pointing to an upward curve on culinary awesomeness skills.

So you see how imperative it is to spread the knowledge on how a celebrated plate of chicken is not so non-doable at all?

Do I hear you say it?
Winner, winner, genius chicken dinner. 

  • 2-3 tbsp red (Indian)chilly powder or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • salt
  • ½ cup plain yoghurt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 5 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large red onion, cut into medium chunks
  • 3 tomatoes, roughly cut into chunks
  • 2 tsps thinly sliced ginger
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 small-ish cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • water
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • ¼ tsp powdered fenugreek leaves- kasoori methi (optional
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 medium pats of butter
  • 1-2 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 sprig mint(optional)
Don't  let the long chain of ingredients dissuade you. Most of the stuff bastes on to the chicken, the rest get boiled and blended. All this requires is some intermittent supervision and approximately 35 minutes of your time(not counting the 30 min marinade). 
  • In a large foil lined sheet pan, mix and make paste of cayenne, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garlic powder, ginger powder, black pepper, salt, yoghurt, lemon juice, 3 tbsp oil.
  • Add the chicken pieces and coat each in the spice mixture thoroughly.
  • Set aside to marinade for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • In the meantime, in deep set pan or dutch oven, add remaining 2 tbsp oil, cut onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom. Saute these ingredients on high flame for a minute or two. No need to brown.
  • Add cilantro.
  • Pour in enough water to just cover everything in pot. Allow ingredients to boil on high heat.
  • Once it has boiled, bring down heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until onions, ginger and garlic are soft and fork-tender. There should be a slight amount of cooking liquid.
  • Allow the mixture to cool a bit.
  • At this point, remove, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Take boiled ingredients into a blender or use an immersion blender to puree into a smooth, thick liquid.
  • Set aside.
  • Bake the marinaded chicken in preheated oven for  about 15-20 minutes. It needs not to  fully cook. 
  • Take pieces out of oven. Allow to cool a bit. Cut into 1" cubes or pieces.  
  • Pour the onion/tomato puree back into same pan as you had it cooked in.
  • Bring to boil. Add chicken.
  • Taste and add salt, if needed
  • Reduce flame to simmer ingredients. Allow chicken to fully cook through and take off flame, after 10-12 minutes.
  • Stir in the sugar. 
  • Stir in powdered fenugreek leaves.
  • Add cream, and butter.
  • Garnish with cilantro and mint.
Kasoori methi(fenugreek leaves) can come packed as dried, whole leaves or in powder form.  A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly and taste after each sprinkle. Leftover powder should be stored in an airtight container.
A slight disclaimer...I am at total odds on whether you truly need dried fenugreek leaves, that most insist is a requirement for authentic flavor. The few times I have omitted it, I really didn't miss it (shhh!!). It has a hugely distinct flavor, that works to distinguish this type of curry. That being said, if your desire is to go full-on, legit khana khazana style, sprinkle away✨✨

2017: Tender coconut ice cream
2016: Pastry tarts
My firstborn and Boss Grad child. Getting ready to turn that tassle🎓
The Best Is Yet To Come🎉❤️
She knows it. Do you? 
The scripture below is what a friend texted me on a mad Monday morning. Seconds later, it appeared before my eyes, on the media feed, from a page I follow. It was what I was praying for, at the particular moment. The Lord showed me He was listening. Beyond a shadow of doubt, He is everpresent, all knowing, a good God, always keeping watch over His children, covering them in the shadow of His wing. 

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, 

yet my unfailing love will not be shaken

    nor my covenant of peace be removed, 
says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10


  1. Congratulations! You must be very proud of her :-))
    This butter chicken looks flavourful! Wish I could reach in and grab the one with flatbread!

  2. The butter chicken looks so tempting... I must try doing the grill and cook next time, I always cook the chicken up in the gravy... and all the very best for the future of your girl... :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!