20 December 2010

Butter Chicken...a recipe

Butter  Chicken, a favourite Punjabi dish, is said to have originated from the kitchens of Mr Kundan Lal Gujral who ran the Moti Mahal restaurant from Peshawar before the partition of India. After partition he moved to India, bringing the popular dish with him.
This dish, served with tandoori roti is a meal that my family loves and I find very convenient  to make. Though it looks like a complicated dish, the actual cooking time is just about 15-20 minutes. The assembly of ingredients and marination  is what takes time. Most recipes don't use turmeric powder but I like to use just a little in the gravy to bring out the colour of the tomatoes and red chillies.
Traditionally the marinated chicken is cooked in a tandoor- a clay oven-that gives it a lovely smoky flavor, but at home you can cook it in a regular oven.
Lot of recipes call for cashew paste to thicken the gravy, but I avoid using this as it only adds to the calorie content.
The marinade uses Kashmiri red chilli powder , which is a mild chilli and adds more of a natural red color than anything else.

Butter Chicken ... this recipe Serves 4

800gms-1kg                   chicken pieces (with bones)
For the marinade:
2-3 tbsp                         lime juice
1 tsp                              salt
Mix together:
1 cup                            yogurt/curd, hung in muslin cloth for 15 minutes
                                    to drain out water                                  
2 tbsp                           ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp                             Kashmiri red chilli powder
4                                  cloves
1” piece                         cinnamon
4-5                                green cardamom (powdered)
2                                   green chillies(chopped)
1 tsp                              garam masala
Small pinch                     red color powder
1 tbsp                            chopped coriander
Salt to taste
Note: To add the colour, start with the tiniest amount with the end of a toothpick and add more if needed, as the intensity of colour can vary from brand to brand.

For gravy:
1 tbsp                            vegetable oil
50 gms                           butter
6-8                                tomatoes (about ½ kg), blanched and
3 tbsp                            cashew powder (optional)
2 tbsp                            kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
½ tsp                             green cardamom, powdered
1 tsp                              red chilli powder
1-2 tbsp                         chopped green chillies
1 tsp                              sugar
1/4th tsp                         turmeric
For garnish-
4-5 tbsp                          cream
3-4 tbsp                          chopped green coriander

Rub the pieces with salt and lime juice and keep aside for 15 minutes. Marinate the chicken in the marinade for 6-8 hours in the fridge.
Wrap in foil and cook in the oven at 200-250°C for 10 minutes. Unwrap the foil and cook for further 15 minutes till almost cooked. The rest of it will cook when simmered in the gravy.

Heat the oil in a saucepan then add the butter (this prevents the butter from burning). Add cardamom powder, fry for a minute. (if using cashew powder, add this now and fry lightly for a minute).
Add the pureed tomato and green chillies. Cook on low heat till oil separates from the pulp.
Now add chilli powder, salt, turmeric, sugar. Cook for a minute.
Add chicken and simmer for 3 minutes.
Rub the kasoori methi between your palms (to release the aroma) and sprinkle over the gravy.
Pour over the cream add mix in gently. Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve hot with tandoori roti or plain naan, fresh salad and green chillies. Be sure to add a bowl of plain curd/yogurt to balance the spiciness.
Hope you enjoy this!!!!

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