Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Butter Chicken

Butter chicken or Murgh Makhani is a traditional Indian dish. This is a variation of a "Rupa's Butter Chicken," a family recipe passed along by a fellow foodie-friend. The sauce is a mild yet extremely flavorful and rich. If you prefer more heat, increase the chili powder and cayenne pepper to taste.

For the Sauce:

1 Olive Oil

2 Tbs Butter

1 Medium Yellow Onion, medium dice

2 Tbs Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Ground Ginger (or 1 Tbs Fresh Ginger, minced)

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Tbs Garam Masala

1 1/2 Tsp Dhanajiru Powder (1 Tsp Ground Coriander + 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin)

1 Tsp Chili Powder

1 Cinnamon Stick

1 Bay Leaf

1/4 Cup Plain Yogurt

1 Cup Heavy Cream

6 oz Tomato Paste

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper, or to taste

1 Tsp Salt


For the Chicken:

1 Tbs Olive Oil

1 Tbs Butter

1 – 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

1 Tsp Garam Masala

1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 Tsp Salt

1/4 Cup Chicken Stock

Heat 1 Tbs Olive Oil and 2 Tbs butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add ginger, garam masala, chili powder and dhanajiru and sauté until spices become fragrant. Add shallot, garlic and onions. Saute until onions have soften. Add tomato paste and continue to sauté over medium heat until liquid has evaporated and the tomato paste has begun to brown. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Add Bay leaf, cinnamon stick and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered while you prepare the chicken.

Sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp garam masala, ¼ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp salt.

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil and 1 Tbs butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken, in batches, over medium high heat. As the chicken pieces brown transfer them to the simmering sauce to finish cooking.

Once all the chicken has browned, use ¼ cup chicken stock to deglaze the pan and loosen all the 'fond' (the flavorful-caramelized-brown-bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan). Add pan drippings the sauce. Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

*Butter chicken is typically served over Basmati Rice but left-over brown rice suites me just fine.

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