My mother has been a vegetarian, for as long as I can remember and couldn’t bear the sight of raw meat. My dad turned into one, some 10 years back. I don’t remember when did we last cook meat at home … may be once in the last 15 years …haha. It sounds funny, but it wasn’t. My brother and I; had no option, but to order non-veg dishes from restaurants. This practice made me addicted to the “Restaurant Style” flavors.
When I started cooking chicken, soon after my marriage – Chicken, was a new ingredient for me. I had never worked with it. I didn’t know how it would react under different conditions. Initially, I would get upset, because my home cooked chicken didn’t taste like the one available in restaurants. My DH was kind enough not to complain and would eat with a straight face. He has always been supportive of my adventures in the kitchen. Now I think, I’ve tamed it quite well 🙂 and I dedicate this dish to him! It’s his favorite ❤
Butter Chicken ♥ ! Just the thought of it , makes one drool. The most sought after Indian dish in the world! A lot is expected from this dish and from the person preparing it! It is a simple chicken dish cooked in a tomato cream sauce. It HAS to be perfect! There is no other way of preparing it! Back home ,every time we would eat out or get it delivered home, it had to be butter chicken! I set out to achieve the ” Restaurant Style” flavors and I guess I’ve nailed it! The only difference being, I have used half or may one-fourth of the fat content found in restaurant preparations and yes, no food color!
Marination : Step 1
450 gms / 1lb Boneless Chicken / Chicken Breast (cut into 1″ small pcs )
2 Tbsp. Oil
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Tandoori Masala ( I used Shan brand – Tandoori Masala )
Marination : Step 2
100 gms / 7oz Greek yogurt / Hung Curd
For the Gravy / Sauce
1 Tsp. Ginger – Garlic Paste
2 Green Chilli
1/2 Tsp. Kashmiri mirch / Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
Salt to Taste
1/8 Tsp Cardamom powder or 2 Cardamom pods (Optional )
10 Cashew nuts (soaked & ground to a paste )
1/2 – 3/4 Tsp Sugar
2 – 3 Tblsp Cream
2 Tbsp Dry fenugreek leaves
4 Tsps Butter
1 Tbsp Oil
1) Marination :
Step 1 – In a bowl take ingredients mentioned under the step 1 – oil , tandoori masala and lemon juice – mix well. To this , add the chicken pieces. Give it a good stir to coat the chicken well, with the masala paste. Using a fork ; prick the chicken pieces, so that it becomes easier for the marinade to penetrate the chicken. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Step 2 – Add the Greek yogurt to the above mix . Mix well and keep aside for minimum 3 hours. Make sure the chicken is refrigerated during the marination process – both in Step 1 and 2.
2) Soak the cashew nuts for 3 hours in hot water. After 3 hours, strain and grind the cashew nuts into a fine paste.
3) Cooking the Chicken : You can either bake the chicken or cook in a skillet, on a stove top.
In the Oven : Preheat the oven to 365° F. Shift the marinated chicken to a lightly greased baking tray and bake for about 22-24 mins. Flip the chicken once in between, for even cooking .
Stove top: You can also use a skillet to stir fry the chicken until its no longer pink in the inside and fully cooked. This should take about anything from 5 – 10 mins. Make sure you don’t over cook the chicken or else it will become stiff and hard.
In both the methods of cooking the chicken, you will be left with the cooked marinade – the clear juice from the chicken. Please do not discard this marinade. Save it for later use.
4) In the meanwhile blanch, peel, remove the seeds and purée the tomatoes. Keep aside. I had only 3 tomatoes available , so I ended up using 3/4th cup of canned tomato purée.
For the Gravy / Sauce :
1) Heat the pan on medium heat . Add 1 tbsp. oil and 1tsp. butter followed by the ginger -garlic paste. Cook the paste till the raw smell of ginger – garlic disappears. Keep stirring . Make sure not this burn this paste.
2) Next, add the sliced green chilly and cardamom pods ( if using ) . Give it a quick stir and add the tomato purée and Kashmiri mirch / cayenne . Cook till the gravy leaves the sides and you see oil droplets on the edges. If using canned puree , add now and cook till the gravy leaves the sides once again. Add the reserved marinade and cook for a few more minutes.
3) Lower the flame and add the cashewnut paste and stir constantly. Simmer and cook till oil droplets are seen on the edges.
4) Now add sugar , remaining butter and the chicken pieces. Cover and simmer for 4-5 mins on low heat .
5) Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. I would suggest to add the salt towards the end, as the Tandoori masala & butter I used, already had salt in it and I did not add any extra salt . Add more sugar if required and add the dry fenugreek leaves, mix well. Now add cream and Mix well. Cook for a minute and turn off the heat.
6) The chicken is now ready to be served! Garnish with chopped coriander leaves or crushed fenugreek leaves and swirls of cream. Relish it with Naan , Tandoori roti, any bread of your choice or even rice Dig in ♥ !
1) Marination time is very important . Do not discount on that.
2) Adjust the spices to suit your palate.
3) Cashew paste is added to give a creamy texture to the sauce.
4) Cream can also be replaced by whole milk, but will have to be cooked for a few minutes . Both cream / milk added , should be at room temperature and should be added only at low flame / heat.
5) Please taste the tandoori masala before using it for marination. This will give you a fair idea of the salt and heat content . If there is no salt in the masala, would suggest that you add some at the time of marination.
6) Cardamom powder/ pods are optional. Would suggest you to add , if the Tandoori masala doesn’t already have it.
7) Sugar is added to balance the sourness of the dish. You may replace it with honey.
Would love to hear from you ! Like it ? Love it ♥ ? Share it !!!
Sonal Kalra 🙂
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