Butter Chicken is definitely the most known and popular North Indian dish in the world. Most probably you will have come across this dish abroad and if you are in India then of course you couldn’t have missed it. I personally don’t remember when I tasted my first Butter Chicken dish but one thing is sure, it must have been in this marvelous big colorful country called India.
There are countless versions of this dish and I think so it must be the most modified Indian dish ever and everybody of course claims theirs is the best – just like the middle eastern shakshuka. Some folks prefer the butter chicken with the bones, some claim that it is not a butter chicken if certain ingredients are not included. Honestly I do not know the real version and I am not going to tell you either that my easy butter chicken is the best. But I am standing behind my recipe and I assure you I can eat it every single day in my life and so does my Indian husband.
I remember how our tandoori chef would cook butter chicken occasionally. You see, butter chicken is a typical north Indian dish and so is the Chicken Tandoori and Tikka from Punjab. I am not going to go into the details of the butter chicken history since it seems to be rather blurred (and even the Wikipedia entry has changed in the past year, which is suspicious).
Anyway, so our chef would prepare, cook and serve his fabulous and famous chicken tandoori and if some was left, he would not resell it the next day, no, he would turn it into a gorgeous butter chicken lunch for us all.
The cool part in reusing tandoori chicken and turning it into a delicious butter chicken dish is…
1. left overs are turned into something even better
2. Time management – you don’t have to marinate the chicken again
3. anything cooked previously in the Indian Tandoori oven develops a crunchy outside and perfectly cooked inside.
Because I had gained this knowledge in the past years I was reluctant to cook a butter chicken without using tandoori baked chicken. The way our chef would prepare his food was beyond perfection, although he was a humble cook, and he was the controller of the mighty tandoori oven, so I, the white western girl, couldn’t possibly recreate something so majestic in the foodie world or so I thought…
After the tandoori dream crumbled and I was officially a big time tandoori fan I was stumped. I was missing the fresh nans and tandoori dishes and guess what, one fine day I simply started to prepare them at home. You can imagine that I had a couple of faux pas but all those mistakes helped me in understanding the mughlai, North Indian cuisine. Finally I have come to a point where I can say that this easy butter chicken recipe is all I will ever need because I tried different approaches but I enjoyed the flavors in this self developed recipe the most.
Not many people own a tandoori oven in their back yards, so an easy butter chicken recipe was required. I have taken the trouble to make this dish perfect because it doesn’t deserve anything less, so that you can get to enjoy it in your own four walls with the simplest means. I invite you to try this easy butter chicken if you love Indian food or if you want to learn about Indian food. Once you have done that, leave us a comment so that others can enjoy as well. I am of course always eager to read your comments and questions.
- 20 Almonds
- 400 grams Chicken
- 2 Teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 60 milliliter Yogurt
- 1½ Teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (or less if you don’t want it too hot)
- ½ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Chaat Masala
- ½ Teaspoon Kitchen King Masala
- pinch or 3-4 drops red/orange Food Coloring (optional)
- Salt according to your taste
- Pepper according to your taste
- 3 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- ½ Lime
- 4 Tablespoon Butter
- ½ Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 medium Onion sliced
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1½ Tablespoon fresh chopped Coriander (cilantro) (half for the cooking, half to garnish)
- 2 Tablespoon fresh Cream
- First toast your almonds in a dry pan by shaking the pan frequently so that they don’t burn. We need to do that so that we can blitz the almonds in the blender into fine almond flour. Keep the almond flour at the side for later.
- Then rinse the chicken, tap dry with a kitchen towel and cut into bite size cubes. Place into a bowl.
- Add to the bowl all at once the ginger garlic paste, yogurt, garam masala, chili powder, turmeric powder, chaat masala, kitchen king masala, food coloring, salt, pepper, the tomato paste, ½ lime and the previously ground almond flour. Mix the whole content well and keep aside to marinate for 20 minutes (the longer the better).
- Add the butter and olive oil to a shallow pan and allow to melt on slow heat and add the chopped onion. Cook until the onion is turning translucent, stir frequently, then add in the bay leaf.
- Continue to add in now the chicken yogurt masala mixture and stir fry for 9 minutes before adding half amount of the chopped coriander (3/4 Tablespoon) and the cream.
- Let it cook for 1-2 more minutes. Take from the heat, garnish with the remaining chopped coriander and serve with Indian flat breads such as nan, chapati, roti.
Have you ever been first overwhelmed with a food recipe but then mastered the trick? If yes what was the dish?