Monday, September 13, 2010

Indian Butter Chicken curry

I have tried out quite a few recipes of butter chicken, and this one is very-very close in taste and fragrance to what you can get in a good Indian restaurant.
The main part of the recipe here is taken from Indian style cook book. I also have made a few small changes myself according to my own taste. 

The quickest way to prepare butter chicken is to buy ready-cooked tandoori chicken.
Otherwise start with the tandoori chicken recipe.
You can make this dish as hot as you like, depending on the amount of chilli powder you include.

First step. Tandoori chicken
You can't expect this dish to be the same as it is served in the Indian restaurant. It would be impossible to achieve, unless you've got a tandoori oven at home. However, as the author of the book promises, this recipe comes close, especially if you marinate the chicken for a day before cooking.

1 chicken ( approx 1,5 kg), skinned
1/2 lemon
1 tsp salt
30 ml of sunflower or olive oil
Tandoori masala paste:
1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
1 tbsp ground paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp chilli powder, ideally Kashmiri chilli powder
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp edible red food colouring (optional)
a few drops of edible yellow food colouring (optional)
200 ml natural yogurt

To make a Tandoori masala paste, combine the garlic and ginger paste, dry spices and food colouring (if using) in a bowl and stir in the yogurt. You can use the paste now, or store in the container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Use a small knife to make thin cuts all over the chicken. Rub the lemon half over the chicken, then rub the salt into the cuts. Put the chicken in a deep bowl, add the paste and use your hands to rub it all over the bird. Cover the bowl with the clingwrap and pop in the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Put the chicken on a rack in a roasting tray, breast side up, and drizzle with a bit of oil. Roast for 45 minutes. Then quickly remove the roasting tray form the oven and turn the temperature to it's highest setting.
Very carefully pour out any fat from the bottom of the tray. Return the chicken to the oven and roast for the further 10-15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh with a knife and the paste is lightly charred.

For a quicker version, use the chicken breasts or thighs. Marinate as above, preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas8 and roast for about 40 minutes.

After the chicken cools down, it's time to make Butter Chicken.

Step two. Butter Chicken curry recipe
Most of ingredients for the butter chicken sauce here I copied from the Curry cook book, some I added myself. But realistically, it's all depends on your taste. You can adjust amount of spices according to your own preference and make it perfect for yourself. Use your senses, vision, touch and taste and experiment until you achieve desired.

1 cooked tandoori chicken cut into pieces
(you can also use cooked tandoori chicken breasts or thighs)
1 brown onion chopped
1 1/2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
400g canned chopped tomatoes
1/4-1/2 tsp chilli powder
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
125 ml water
1/2 tbsp tomato puree
40g butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
4 tbsp double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh coriander seeds
From myself I also added:
Pinch of cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Put the onion and garlic and ginger paste in a food processor, blender or spice grinder and whiz together until a paste forms. Add the tomatoes, chilli powder, sugar and a pinch of salt and whiz again until blended.

Heat the oil in the wok or large fry pan over a medium-high heat. Add the tomato mixture and water and stir in the tomato puree.
Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
Stir in half the butter, the garam masala, cumin, coriander, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Add the chicken pieces and stir around until they are well coated. Simmer for about 10 minutes longer, or until the chicken is hot. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

Lightly beat the cream in a small bowl and stir in several tablespoons of the hot sauce, beating constantly. Stir the cream mixture into the tomato sauce, then add the remaining butter and stir until it melts.
Taste the sauce and adjust the ingredients if necessary.

When ready, garnish with fresh coriander sprigs and serve while hot.

Butter chicken goes perfectly with rice and traditional Indian naan bread.
You can add a bit of turmeric or a small pinch of saffron to rice, while boiling to add it a nice colour.

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