Thursday, February 07, 2013

Mmmmm, Butter Chicken

Okay, so we're into February now. You've done your juice cleanse, you've been working out like you promised yourself you would … but your resolve is wavering and it's still winter. You're ready for a little hearty comfort. 

This butter chicken is the answer, my friends. It starts with a healthy spice-filled yogurt marinade for the chicken but then is finished with a heart-warming, soul-satisfying cream and butter-ladened sauce the most beautiful color of orange you've ever seen on a cold winter's day. The  fresh curry leaves are a bit hard to come by, but if you're in the Ann Arbor area, you can find them —and everything else you need might need, i.e. cheap cardamom — at Bombay Grocers on Packard.

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhanwala)
via Saveur

Serves 4.

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
Kosher salt, to taste
1 3–4-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed

1/2 English cucumber (about 6 oz.), seeded and grated
1/2 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated

1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 green cardamom pods, cracked
3 whole cloves, crushed
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 3" piece ginger, washed and grated (skin on)
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tsp. garam masala

4 fresh or frozen curry leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Marinate the chicken: Combine all marinade ingredients except for chicken in a food processor; purée. Transfer marinade to a large bowl and add chicken, tossing to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 500° F. 

Transfer chicken to an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and spoon any marinade from bowl over chicken. Bake until light brown but not cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack; set aside. 

Meanwhile, make raita: Toss cucumbers, tomatoes, and salt in a colander and let sit for 10 minutes. Press cucumbers and tomatoes to drain well and then transfer to a medium bowl along with yogurt, mint, lemon juice, coriander, cumin, and carrots; toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Make the sauce: In a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat, combine chile flakes, garlic, cardamom, cloves, tomatoes, ginger, bay leaf, and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often and crushing tomatoes with a spoon, for 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf and transfer sauce to a food processor; purée. Return sauce to pot and continue cooking over medium-low heat until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. 

Add reserved chicken pieces and any marinade from pan, along with 1/3 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream, butter, garam masala, and curry leaves. Reduce heat to low and cook until flavors meld, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep warm.

To serve, transfer chicken and sauce to a serving platter and serve with the raita.


  1. yes please! thanks for another awesome recipe, will definitely be trying this one soon :D