This recipe is thanks to Chef Payal Thakurani from Commune Kitchen.
Chef Payal said "I learnt this recipe on a road trip through Punjab many years ago. Up until then, I would simply use butter, garlic and canned tomatoes to make Butter Chicken at home. It was only when I tried the authentic version in road-side dhabas (small restaurants on highways in Northern India) that I realized the beauty of this truly iconic dish . Charred tandoori chicken swimming in a creamy sauce made with caramelized red onions, ripe tomatoes, kasuri methi and quality spices are all key to a good butter chicken. Enjoy this awesome recipe and I promise you’ll be making it over and over again."
1.2 kg boneless chicken thighs, chopped into 1" wide pieces
3/4 cup thick plain yogurt or greek yogurt
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
1 fresh green chili padi, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
175g red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
1 fresh green chili padi, chopped
40g or 1/3 cup cashews
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
4 medium or 600g tomatoes, puréed or tomato Passata
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, optional
1.25 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cream or Ayam coconut milk
3-4 green cardamoms, pounded in a mortar and pestle - optional
2-3 tablespoons butter or ghee
2-3 tablespoons kasuri methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)
1 tablespoon butter, for garnish - optional
1. Marinade chicken with yogurt, ginger, garlic, fresh chili, turmeric powder, salt, chili powder, garam masala, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.
2. Heat a tablespoon of butter or ghee on medium heat in a large non-stick frying pan.
3. Fry chicken pieces, few at a time until cooked and slightly charred on both sides. This may take about 6-8 minutes for each batch (3-4 minutes on each side). Drain chicken and set aside.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all your chicken is cooked.
5. Heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee on medium heat in a heavy base saucepan, drop in cumin seeds and let them splutter.
6. Add onion, ginger, garlic, fresh chili and stir well. Fry until onions start browning, stir every couple of minutes.
7. Drop in cashews and stir-fry for another few minutes until cashews turn slightly brown. Transfer this mixture along with chopped tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth. You can add a few tablespoons of water to speed up blending.
8. Next, heat the same wok and pour in the blended mixture followed by coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric and salt. You will notice that lots of paste is still stuck to the walls of the blender. Add about 1 cup water to the blender, shake well and set aside.
9. Add chicken along with leftover juices from the chicken. Cook for about 10 minutes on low-medium heat so spices release their oils. (you may cover it if sauce starts spluttering).
10. Add 1 cup of water from the blender. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
11. Add garam masala and pounded green cardamoms, stir.
12. Add kasuri methi leaves, a tablespoon of butter and cream/coconut milk, mix well. Serve hot with naan or rotis.
Read all about Chef Payal and Commune Kitchen