I have to share a secret. This is my very favorite meal in the whole world. (And I’m excited because I only make it two or three times a year…after all it is butter chicken!) I’ll admit this recipe may look intimidating at first glance because of the long ingredient list and drawn out instructions. But take a deeper look…a lot of the ingredients are probably things you already have in your fridge or pantry, and not including marinating the chicken overnight, this dish only takes about two hours to prepare. Think about it this way: you’re only two hours away from heaven. And on a Sunday afternoon, what could be better than the smell of curry filling the house?
I invite you all to try my favorite dish and let me know how you like it. By the way, I’d love to hear what your favorite meal is!
Serving Suggestions: I served this with basmati rice and onion chutney. Later this week I’ll be posting the onion chutney recipe.
A Note on the Spice Mix: If you can’t find these spices or don’t want to make your own mix, you could try substituting curry powder or paste.
Indian Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)
(Yield: 6-8 servings)
Spice Mix (you’ll use this whole mix between the chicken and the gravy):
4 tsp garam masala (see here for the spices in garam masala)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp turmeric
½ teaspoon fenugreek
½ c plain low fat yogurt
2 TB lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, grated
5 tsp Spice Mix
1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
2 TB olive oil
2 medium-large onions, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 TB fresh grated ginger
5 tsp Spice Mix
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp hot sauce
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4 oz tomato paste
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf
½ c golden raisins
1 TB sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
4 TB butter
¼ c plus 1 TB minced fresh parsley (divided)
Combine all ingredients for the Spice Mix. Combine all ingredients for the chicken and allow it to marinade in the refrigerator overnight.
In a large pan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and jalapeno and sauté for 5-10 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally (until slightly softened). Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another 30 seconds to a minute, then add the Spice Mix and lemon juice and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the hot sauce and tomatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes; add the tomato paste, 4 c of water, and bouillon cubes; cover the pan and let the gravy simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow the gravy to cool slightly.
Transfer the gravy to a blender and blend until it’s completely smooth (I do this in two or three batches); then return the gravy to the pan along with the bay leaf and raisins. Let the gravy simmer for an hour, then stir in the sugar and heavy cream. Add the butter and let it melt in, then shut off the heat.
While the gravy is simmering for an hour, you can cook the chicken. The chicken can be skewered and grilled, cooked in a broiler, or cooked in a very hot oven.
Add ¼ c of parsley and the cooked chicken to the gravy. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and sugar as desired. Serve the gravy garnished with the remaining 1 TB of parsley, alongside basmati rice and onion chutney.