Butter chicken

Going through some papers, Sh. and I came across the long-lost butter chicken recipe we developed for our committement ceremony in July 2010. We fed this to around 120 people, many of whom asked to see the recipe afterwards. So here it is for posterity (better late than never).

Butter chicken is to Indian cuisine what chop suey is to the Chinese or by-the-slice takeout pizza is to Italians: a dish invented by a diaspora population to suit local tastes, whose popularity in North America and the UK far outstrips more traditional fare. It’s also tasty, popular, and lends itself well to being cooked in massive quantities, so it seemed a suitable choice.

We read perhaps a dozen recipes and experimented before settling on this one, as there are as many variations on this recipe as there are curry shops in England. We replaced the usual heavy cream with coconut milk mostly because it’s just as tasty and is easier to work with (it keeps far longer and will never separate when cooking). This is prepared as often without tomatoes as with, but we prefer to use a tomato base.

Fry these spices in 3 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil:

  • 0.5 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 pods cardamon, crushed
  • 0.5 tsp fresh turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp whole cumin

Add the following and cook until the onions are translucent:

  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp tsp ginger, grated

Add the following and bring to boil:

  • 0.5 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Add fully cooked roast chicken cut into bite-sized pieces (barbequed if possible) and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup yogurt and serve over rice or flatbread. For a vegetarian version, use grilled paneer or tofu instead of chicken.

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