Anyone who is a fan of Indian cuisine will certainly have tried the famous Butter Chicken or murgh makhani (if you are not a Vegetarian). It's on every menu in any Indian restaurant in countries all over the world. Depending on where you are, the taste varies from restaurant to restaurant, even in India itself you'll never find two cooks making the same butter chicken.
The dish originated in the Punjab region of India. Served in the famous street side stalls, Dhabas, the butter chicken found it's way into mainstream restaurant cuisine because of it's creamy, buttery sauce and tender, succulent chicken. It's not surprising that it became so popular.
Butter chicken is prepared by marinating the chicken overnight in a yogurt-spice rub. The Makhani sauce is made with butter, tomatoes, spices and ground almonds among other ingredients. Traditionally the chicken is cooked in a tandoor, and in many restaurants you will find that the meat is still prepared in the clay oven.
As it is often the case, a dish like this simply tastes exquisite when it is prepared at home. Using high quality, free-range and/or local chicken will definitely ensure that you are creating a mouth-watering dish right from the beginning.
You do not need a tandoor to make butter chicken at home. You can make this in an oven-proof dish or a roasting tin. The next best thing to the tandoor is the Römertopf, which is what I used here.
Hope you enjoy making the famous Punjabi dish at home and find pleasure in the the wonderful aromas and flavors this butter chicken offers.
IngredientsPrintable version of recipe here.
1 kg chicken - without skin, boned and cut into bite-size cubes or strips
50ml vegetable oil
For the marinade
For the spice mix
For the butter sauce
500 ml chicken stock
Handful of almonds, 20-25, skinned and pureed to a fine paste
3 onions - finely chopped
2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
3-4 tablespoons cream
Handful coriander leaves, chopped
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients for the marinade and mix to incorporate. Add the chicken pieces and coat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the spice mix, dry roast all the spices in a small pan. Finely grind in grinder, food processor or using a pestle and morsel. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and sauté the onions with the ginger-garlic paste until the color takes on a golden color. Add the chicken pieces, reserving the marinade, and pan-fry until the meat turns opaque.
Stir in the dry spice mix to the chicken and mix well, then transfer everything into your Römertopf, roasting tin or ovenproof dish. Pour in the chicken stock, cover tightly and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Stir in the reserved marinade and bake for a further 15 minutes. Reduce the heat of the oven to 150 degrees C and finally add the almond paste, butter and cream. Put back into the oven and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with fresh rotis, naan or steamed rice.
Don't let the ingredient list put you off. The method of preparing the butter chicken is so easy that you'll be licking your fingers for more. If you do not want to prepare the chicken in the oven simply use a pot and prepare the butter chicken on your stove/oven top.
This butter chicken tastes absolutely delightful. By baking in the oven, the meat remains succulent and tender. The sauce has the perfect opportunity to unfold it's incredible aromas and bring out all the flavors. You might have noticed I leave tomatoes and tomato puree out of my recipe. This because I personally think that adding tomato to this delicate dish takes away the attention from the main focus - the chicken and the buttery sauce. The flavor of tomatoes makes the dish tarter, which somehow in my opinion, does not fit here. If you prefer it with tomatoes by all means add a few chopped tomatoes to the chicken when pan-frying it.
For us at home we love it just the way it is.
Good luck and let me know what you thought!
More poultry recipes to try out from WFLH:
Chicken from around the blogs:
The Daily Tiffin Reader Tip:
Don't let the bed bugs bite! by Manisha
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First