{ Butter Chicken – Murgh Makhani }

Butter Chicken Plated

Indian food is notorious being rich, but in the wintertime I crave a hearty meal like butter chicken over basmati rice. The curry warms you from the inside and the meal sticks to your ribs for hours; it’s the epitome of comfort food. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many good Indian restaurants where I live in Bucks County (I can’t express how much I miss Bombay Darbar in Miami). And as a result, I have begun experimenting with Indian flavors in my kitchen at home. This week I decided to tackle a recipe for Butter Chicken (traditionally known as Murgh Makhani) that I found on Pinterest.

I followed the recipe (taken from www.ecurry.com) almost exactly, but I did have to modify some of the seasonings due to the limitations of my spice pantry. None-the-less, the recipe came out incredible, hitting all the flavorful notes of an authentic Indian supper.

I will warn you though that the dish is time consuming to prepare. The chicken needs to marinade twice, and ideally overnight in the second marinade, so plan ahead with this meal!! Other than that, the dish is relatively easy to prepare once you have all of your ingredients gathered. Like I said, I made some very minor modifications to the original recipe in order to make it more user-friendly for the average american spice pantry. I will definitely be making this dish again, using the exact recipe listed below:

{ Ingredients }

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breast –  rinsed, patted dry, and cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive Oil for basting while grilling

For the Yogurt Marinade:

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%)
  • 1/5 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic paste

For the Makhani Masala Sauce:

  • 2.5 inch fresh ginger, made into a paste
  • 8-10 closed of garlic, made into a paste
  • 2-4 jalapeños, slit
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 2.5 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 3.5 cups tomato puree
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 Tbsp almond paste* (see note!)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1.5 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp heavy cream

**NOTE: Take a handful of almonds and soak them in boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain (reserving the liquid) and blend in a food processor with a 1/2 tsp of the reserved liquid.

{ Directions }

Cut the chicken into cubes.

Slicing Chicken

Apply the chili powder, lemon juice, and kosher salt to the chicken breasts and set aside for 20 minutes. This is the first marination.

Seasoned Spice Chicken

Combine the Greek yogurt, red chili powder, salt, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, garam masala powder, and olive oil in a small bowl and mix well.

Yogurt Marinade

Yogurt Marinade2

Apply this marinade to the chicken and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight!

Chicken in Marinade

Put the chicken on skewers and cook on a grill or in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking process.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet. Add the black cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. Sautee until the spices begin to sizzle and become fragrant, then add the ginger paste, garlic paste, and the jalapeno chilis. Cook for 5-8 minutes; the water in the garlic and ginger paste should reduce drastically.

Add the tomato puree, red chili powder, and kosher salt. Cook at a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. The puree will reduce to a thicker sauce and the oil will separate to the sides of the pan.

Add 2 cups of boiling water to the pan, then ass the almond paste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the sugar and fenugreek leaves.

Return the cooked chicken pieces to the pan. Stir well to combine so that the chicken is coated with the sauce. Cover ad simmer for 8-10 minutes. Lower the heat and add the garam masala and the heavy cream. Stir in the cream and simmer at a low heat for an additional 5 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and a splash of cream before serving.

Butter Chicken in Pan

I served my butter chicken over basmati rice, with a side of Garlic Naan (a recipe that I also got from www.ecurry.com).

Homemade Naan

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