Sunday, May 11, 2014

Butter Chicken (without the butter)

I am obsessed with Butter Chicken. It is an Indian chicken dish with spices in a tomato cream sauce/curry. It's probably not the healthiest addiction, but it's better than a chocolate addiction right? Oh wait I have that too.

This super simple recipe requires very few ingredients (I cheat quite a few times from very authentic Butter Chicken recipes) and requires no fancy equipment or impossible-to-find ingredients. Fair warning however, it will leave your kitchen and clothes smelling like a spice house.

This recipe is roughly 8 servings. If you need to make less, you can easily half everything. The measurements I have given here are very much "eyeballed", meaning you can add a little more or less of something and it won't drastically change anything (i.e, add more milk if too spicy). This recipe also freezes well!

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 10 roma tomatoes
  • 1 packet of Shan Masala Butter Chicken spice packet- can be found in ethnic food aisles at many grocery stores
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • ~1 cup milk
  • Canola oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic + ginger paste (can grind your own)
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

  •  1 mixing bowl
  • 1 large pot
  • food processor/blender

1. Cut raw chicken into bite-size cubes. Allow to sit for 10-15 mins to drain out water from the chicken

2. Transfer to large mixing bowl. As you transfer the chicken cubes, pat them dry with a napkin. Dry chicken to start out with makes for better quality chicken

3. In large mixing bowl, squeeze 1 lemon over the chicken (don't let the seeds fall in). Then add 1 packet of Shan Masala Butter Chicken spices, 2 tbsp yogurt, 2 tbsp ginger + garlic paste. Mix ingredients well to coat the chicken nicely and let chicken marinate for 30 mins

4. As the chicken cubes marinate in the spices, bring a pot of water to a boil. This will be for your tomatoes

5. Cut ends off tomatoes and add to the pot and let boil for ~4 minutes or until you see the tomato skin start to slightly peel off. You don't want to cook the tomatoes; this method is simply an easy way to peel them

6. Dump tomatoes into a strainer and run them under cool water to stop cooking

7. Remove tomato skin and toss into blender/food processor. Puree well

8. Add canola oil to an empty, dry pot. Add enough to create a 0.5" layer at the bottom of the pot. Turn on medium-high heat

9. Add marinated chicken to pot and cook. Stir to ensure the chicken doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Chicken will be ready when the oil and curry begin to clearly separate at the top of the mixture (you will see distinct separation) or when the chicken is cooked. This will take ~20 mins. If you are unsure, check to see if the chicken is cooked after 20 mins (No pink on the inside). Cook longer if needed

10. When chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the pot and place into a plate, leaving behind the curry mixture in the pot on low heat. You will now add the tomato puree to the curry mixture. Removing the chicken ensures that while the flavors of the tomato puree and curry spices meld, it won't overcook your chicken

11. Once you have added the tomato puree to the curry mix in the pot, add ~1 cup of milk (less if you want a more spicy curry). Add crushed black pepper and salt to taste (I added 0.5 tsp salt). Set back on high heat. Stir and wait for the tomato curry mixture to thicken for ~15 mins

12. Add the chicken back in and let simmer for another 5-10 mins

13. Pour onto some white rice and enjoy!


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