Classic Butter Chicken
Butter chicken is one of those classic Indian dishes that most are familiar with and love. It’s ones of my husband’s favourite and I love it too. I have made quite a few versions but many times they are lacking in flavour, the texture is not right it, or they are way to complex to even try or have me motivated to try again. In comes My Indian Kitchen by my talented Insta friend and author Swayampurna Mishra. I was so happy to get a message from her asking for my address to send me a copy of her new cookbook. I was super excited to receive it as I have been a huge fan of her work (blog and photography) since I joined the foodie insta family.
I have always been drawn to her and the likes of her as she is a wonderful writer and story teller. Something I’m lacking and so I find especially endearing in others. She is also super positive as a person and very much empowered and empowering. She tells it like it is and I totally admire that in people. I was very proud and excited of and for her when she announced her book. What’s amazing about the book is that her photography is all unmistakably her own. Not only her recipes and her beautiful writing, but her beautiful images are all her. Really this is a special book. Her 2nd little baby next to D.
It arrived and I first went through and enjoyed all the photography, as it tells a story on its own. Then I took my time and checked all the recipes and bookmarked all the ones that I wanted to make and - there are a lot of them. I hear her voice clearly throughout the book, through her recipes and notes and her introduction. The book is so well put together starting with starters or appetizers ranging from simple to opulent and to desserts and drinks, with many delicious things in between. The titles of her chapters are so her as well. From Beginnings to My sweet life and Let’s drink - they all capture her and her voice.
I have also always been drawn to Swayampurna because of her love of food and her food relationship. In this way we are similar and have a wonderful love for even basic foods and joy in even simple eats. Although our food experiences and cultures are different our love and appreciation for food from a very young age is very similar. And who doesn’t love to be around someone else who loves and enjoys food? It’s in us. I have only met two people in my life (sadly I’m sure there are more of them in this world) that would rather take food in a pill form than actually eat it - could not relate to them and that is why I can fully relate to Swayampurna and her book of delicious Indian dishes. Her book is an invitation into her kitchen, introducing you to Indian cuisine, something that may seem intimidating to some. She simplifies it and shows you how anyone can do it and enjoy it and share it with loved ones.
I chose butter chicken, actually I should say my husband chose the recipe that I was to make to feature on the blog as it’s his favourite and a no brainer to try. I thought it was also a perfect recipe to share with you guys on the blog because I know you love comforting dishes and thought you would love a staple butter chicken recipe, and guess what? That is what this one is. Look no further, this is it! The flavours, textures and spice is all on point. You will absolutely love it and will have it on repeat and I’m so happy I get to share it with you guys. Definitely give it a try and do check out My Indian Kitchen by Swayampurna Mishra for more of her delicious recipes.
Recipe notes from Swayampurna
The gravy will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days and in a resealable bag in the freezer for 3 months. If you are storing the gravy, follow the directions as outlined up until adding the cream. When reheating gravy, bring it to room temperature and resume the directions at the point of adding the cream. Be sure to add an extra dollop of butter.
I like to marinate the the chicken for a half an hour up to overnight before cooking. For the marinade I used a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a pinch of salt, pinch of red chili powder or paprika, a tsp of kasuri methi, a pinch of turmeric, 1 tsp of garam masala, a splash of oil, 1 clove of garlic and a 1/2 inch piece of ginger grated, and 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt. Simply whisk the ingredients together, toss the chicken in it and cover and refrigerate. I think this intensifies the flavours in the chicken. The marinade is very similar to the one Swayampurna uses in her Yogurt and Saffron grilled chicken Tikka.
I made it ahead of time (the night before i cooked it) and I found that I didn’t need to strain mine as it was super creamy. My high speed blender did an amazing job but if you find yours isn’t as smooth definitely strain it. Making the sauce ahead and marinating the chicken the night before makes this super easy to prep in advance and reduces the cooking time by so much. I strongly recommend it especially if you are planning on making this for a dinner party.
I already told you about the marinade but one thing I like to do is pan fry and brown the chicken a little bit before. I remove the chicken from the marinade and pan fry it in 1 tbsp of oil before adding the butter, asafetida and sauce in the pan. You can also grill the chicken as Swayampurna recommends for added flavour before adding it to the sauce.
Green chili = jalapeño Kashmiri red chili power = paprika/cayenne combo Asafetida = onion garlic powder combo Kasuri methi = fresh chopped celery leaves and fennel combo is the closest
Makes 4 servings
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3½ tbsp butter, divided
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 1 (½ inch) cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 (½ inch) piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 green chili, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 large tomatoes, puréed, or 1 cup tomato purée
- Salt (as needed)
- Water (as needed)
- Pinch of asafetida (hing; optional)
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp tandoori chicken seasoning
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 25 oz chicken breast and thigh meat, cut into 1½ inch cubes
- 2 tbsp room-temperature cream (plus for drizzling)
- Fresh cilantro (for garnish)
- ½ tsp honey
- Rice, naan and Mango Saffron Lassi (for serving)
- Heat the oil and 1 tbsp of the butter in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat
- Add the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves
- Cook for 20 seconds, until the spices are fragrant
- Add the ginger, garlic, chili and onion
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté until the onion us pink and the raw smell evaporates, about 4 minutes.
- Add the puréed tomatoes and salt and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until the oil separates from the sides, about 20 minutes.
- If needed, add a little water to prevent the mixture from sticking.
- Let the mixture cool slightly then transfer it to a blender until it forms a smooth sauce.
- Push the sauce through a strainer so that it is silky smooth.
- Melt the remains in 2½ tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the asafetida (if using) and pour the strained sauce into the skillet.
- Add the Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander, tandoori chicken seasoning, garam masala and fenugreek leaves.
- Let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add ¼ cup of warm water if the sauce us too thick.
- Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Add the cream, stir the mixture well and remove the skillet from the heat immediately.
- Drizzle the honey and additional cream over the chicken, them sprinkle it with the cilantro.
- Serve with rice, naan and Mango-Saffron Lassi.