I’ll preface this entry by saying that butter chicken is one of my favourite Indian foods of all time. So, as I write this, I’m going to do my best to convey my love for this dish to all of you reading it.
Butter chicken is essentially pieces of deliciously cooked chicken in a creamy, hot, tomato sauce with yogurt. It’s warming, it’s tasty, and it’s not even that difficult to make! However, a good butter chicken makes me feel happy and comfortable like almost no other dish can.
There are many options for how to eat butter chicken. It’s often eaten with naan, a flatbread that normally has luxurious amounts of ghee (Indian butter) and garlic on it. The soft stretchiness of the naan combined with the rich taste of the butter chicken is truly a delicious taste experience.
However, you can also eat butter chicken with rice. The important thing is to have some sort of starch in order to balance each bite and the meal as a whole. When my family eats butter chicken, we often have a plate of sliced cucumber or tomato with a sprinkle of salt and pepper for this exact reason. The coolness of the vegetables cuts through the thickness of the creamy sauce and pieces of chicken.
Butter chicken is unique in that it’s a meal served during all kinds of occasions. High end restaurants as well as streetside ones both have variants on butter chicken. However, some things remain constant. It’s often served in a bronze or steel bowl, from which you can take it onto your plate or share with friends and family as needed. It should always have the pleasing orange colour that is the hallmark of the dish. And it should always always always be served piping hot, straight from the kitchen. So, as you take a delicious bite, smile in the knowledge that you’re enjoying something that, without exaggeration, is enjoyed by a nation of over a billion, and will continue to be for many years to come.
Ingredients (Serves 4-5)
For the chicken
300 gms Chicken breast boneless
1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp Red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Oil to pan fry
For the gravy
500 gms roughly slit tomatoes
100 gms roughly cut onions
1 tbsp garlic paste
50 gms cashew
1 tsp kasoori methi ( optional)
1/2 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
5 tbsp butter
3 tbsp cream
2 tbsp malt vinegar / 1.5 tbsp White Vinegar ( optional )
Salt to taste
To your washed and cut chicken, add the garlic (paste if you have), ginger (paste if you have), chilli powder and salt. Stir it up, and let marinade for 15-20 minutes.
Heat some oil, then add the chicken in. When the chicken is almost done, transfer it into another bowl. Cut the onion roughly, use the same pan that you cooked your chicken, and add the onions with a little oil, and butter. Let the onions sweat a bit, now add the tomatoes ( and cashew nuts optional ).
Mix them, and when mixed, add the water, and garlic paste. Then add salt, sugar, garam masala powder, red chilli powder ( and malt vinegar optional). Let this mixture simmer until the tomatoes are soft, and it is bubbling.
When it is soft, put it in a bowl, and use a hand blender, or a blender. Blend this mixture until fine. Strain it through a very fine strainer, trying to get minimal waste, the only thing that should be left is tomato skin and seeds. Now add some more butter and cream to the mix. Put the heat on medium and add the chicken back.
Stir until the chicken is covered with the gravy, and optionally add some kasoori methi. Serve in a bowl and top with a little cream. And ENJOY!!!