Butter Chicken

 Butter ChickenIf I am to make a list of foods which represent India to the outside world, Butter Chicken will definitely be in the top five. To claim to be a true Indian foodie, Butter chicken is one dish that you will have to happily finish up without dreading your cardiologist or tearing up for shattered diet plan dreams. Butter chicken along with butter naan and probably a glass of thick creamy lassi (sweet yogurt based drink) to gulp it all down, is what an Indian foodie’s dreams are made of. Trust me, I have seen people lusting and craving out of nowhere for butter chicken. It is that good. 

Indian food is often accused of being heavy, spice laden, creamy and harsh on stomach. Well, sometimes it is. We love our spices and there is no shame in that. In fact I’m pretty proud how our dishes play with different spices and herbs, there is no dearth of excitement or room for blandness here. Now about being heavy and creamy, so I would say, which delicious food isn’t. The cakes,pastries, croissant all are just butter, sugar and all purpose flour. We need these heavy, creamy, buttery treats every now and then to feel alive and feed our mind and soul.

Butter ChickenHaving said that, our everyday Indian food is quite simple; lentils, green veggies, roti (Indian flat bread), rice, yogurt and all the other goodness. But we break the monotony of life either with food, festivals, colours or spices. We know how to transform simple chicken into a dish of dreams, be it chicken tikka, tandoori chicken or Butter chicken. Check out if you want to try chicken tikka kebabs or chicken tikka masala. We celebrate, get together with friends and families, gather the brightest of colors, talk endlessly; loud and happy, laugh uncontrollably and indulge in richness of our traditions and home made food. Butter Chicken has special place in such settings.  

Butter ChickenYes, I know you are watching your diet these days and cholesterol too. Relief! I will not ask you to use all the cream or butter that I am using in the preparation. You can cut back and use as much you would prefer.  Here are some tips to make the best butter chicken:

  • Marinate the chicken beforehand. If possible leave the chicken to marinate overnight. Longer the better!
  • Onions should be little more that 1/4 of quantity of chicken, ginger and garlic 1/2 of quantity of onions.
  • Use fresh spices. I use freshly home made garam masala. If not readily available, I blend the spices along with ginger and garlic. But if you don’t have fresh, store bought garam masala won’t hurt. You can also use chicken tikka masala powder. It works wonderfully good.
  • Masala should be well cooked. You know it is cooked when it starts releasing oil. 
  • To make the curry even more creamier, you can use paste of cashew or almonds and cut back on cream. Soak cashews or almonds whichever you are using, in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes. Peel off the almond skin and blend it in fine paste. Add this along with turmeric and other spices.
  • Slow cook chicken with masala without adding water. This lets chicken absorb all the goodness of masala.
  • Save some of the cream and butter for the end.  Use it to garnish at the time of serving.

Butter ChickenAhhh, look at that rich, creamy, juicy, spicy, succulent buttery Butter Chicken!! Don’t you wish, you can have this for dinner every day without a second thought. 

Butter Chicken
Serves 3
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
For Chicken Marination
  1. 1/2 kg chicken
  2. 1/4 cup yogurt
  3. 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic powder
  4. 1 tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika powder
  5. 1 tsp garam masala powder
  6. Salt to taste
For gravy
  1. 1/4 cup butter
  2. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 medium size onion
  4. 1 mid sized tomato
  5. 1 bay leave
  6. 5-6 garlic cloves
  7. 1/2 inch ginger
  8. 2 green chilis
  9. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  10. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  11. 1 tsp peppercorns
  12. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  13. 1 tsp coriander powder
  14. 1 tsp red chili powder
  15. 1 tsp garam masala powder
  16. 1.5 tsp dried Kasoori Methi (fenugreek leaves)
  17. 1/2 cup cream
  18. Coriander leaves for garnish
Marination
  1. Wash and clean the chicken. You can use boneless chicken if you like, I have used curry cut chicken here.
  2. Add yogurt, ginger garlic paste, Kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala powder and half of the salt that you would need in the chicken. Mix everything well.
  3. Keep chicken in refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can keep it longer.
For Gravy
  1. Slice onions and make a paste in blender.
  2. Blend together ginger, garlic, green chili and peppercorns.
  3. Pour vegetable oil in a heavy bottom pan or kadhai. When oil is hot, melt half of the butter into it.
  4. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick in oil.
  5. When seeds start to splutter add onion paste and cook till golden. Add ginger, garlic, green chili and peppercorn paste at this point. Let it cook for around couple of minutes.
  6. When mixture starts bubbling, add sliced tomatoes and cook till they are tender. You can also puree them and use.
  7. In a bowl, mix coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala powder and red chili powder. Add some water to make a paste. Transfer it in the pan. Cook it well while stirring occasionally. Leave some of the garam masala to garnish at the end.
  8. When masala starts to release oil, add chicken into it. Stir it well so that all chicken is coated with masala.
  9. Add half of the cream, kasuri methi and salt. Let it simmer on low to medium flame for around 10-15 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally so chicken won't stick to the bottom.
  10. When chicken is well mixed with masala and looks 80% cooked, add water into it.
  11. Water is completely optional, if you do not want gravy skip adding water.
  12. Close the lid and let chicken cook on low to medium flame. When water is totally absorbed in masala and chicken, add rest of the cream and butter.
  13. Mix everything well, sprinkle some garam masala, kasuri methi and chopped coriander leaves to garnish.
  14. Serve with naan, chapati or rice.
Pepper Garlic Kitchen https://www.peppergarlickitchen.com/

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