Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is an Indian cuisine from Punjab, popular in countries all over the world. The dish became a common name across the world by the Sikh diaspora from Punjab. The origins of butter chicken can be traced back to a man named Kundan Lal Gujral, who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal Delux in Peshawar before the partition of British India. With the partition of British India, Moti Mahal moved to New Delhi. Butter Chicken is regarded to have been first introduced by Moti Mahal in New Delhi. Butter chicken is usually served with naan, roti, parathas or steamed rice. It should not be confused with Chicken tikka masala, a similarly coloured Indian chicken dish that originated among the South Asian diaspora in the U.K.. Butter Chicken is among the best known Indian foods all over the world. Its gravy can be made as hot or mild as you like so it suits most palates. Also commonly known as Murg Makhani, Butter Chicken tastes great with Kaali Daal (black lentils), Naans and a green salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg boneless chicken skin removed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to suit your taste)
  • 6 cloves
  • 8-10 peppercorns
  • 1″ stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8-10 almonds
  • Seeds from 3-4 pods of cardamom
  • 1 cup fresh pareve soy yoghurt (must not be sour)
  • 3 tbsps vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 tsps garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsps coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 can (400g or 14 oz) of tomato paste
  • 1/2 litre chicken stock
  • 2 tbsps kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 3 tbsps unmelted, soft butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Directions

  • In a large glass bowl mix the chicken, lime juice, salt and red chilli powder. Cover and allow to marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Heat a flat pan on medium heat and smoothly roast (stirring frequently) the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and almonds till they darken slightly. Cool and add the cardamom seeds. Now grind all the ingredients into a coarse powder.
  • Add the pareve yoghurt, above whole spice powder (from previous step), coriander, cumin and turmeric powders together and add them to the chicken. Allow to marinate for another hour.
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium heat. When hot, add the onions. Fry till a pale golden brown in color and then add the ginger and garlic pastes. Fry for a minute.
  • Add only the chicken from the chicken-spice mix and fry till sealed (chicken will turn opaque and the flesh will go from pink to whitish in color).
  • Now add the tomato paste, chicken stock, kasuri methi and remaining part of the yogurt-spice mix to the chicken.
  • Cook till the chicken becomes tender and the gravy is reduced to half its original volume.
  • Melt the butter in another pan and then pour it over the chicken.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Naan/roti and Kaali Daal(optional).

Note-For an authentic and traditional cooked-over-the-coals flavour: When the Butter Chicken is cooked, make a small bowl shape with aluminum foil and place it on top of the curry (‘floating’ on it). Heat a briquette of charcoal on an open flame till red hot and gently put the charcoal in to the aluminum foil bowl. Cover the dish immediately. Remove the cover just before serving, discard the foil bowl and charcoal and serve. The curry will be infused with a smokey flavor!

Tagged: Stuart