Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Butter Chicken

I've always wondered what the fuss was all about. Butter Chicken seems to be a firm favourite among many, but I never got the itch to try it until today! No time like the present..

I'm not sure if it was the howling winds trashing the yard, or the fact that at midday I had to find my Ugg boots to fight off an attack of the chills, but spicy curry was just the ticket. I did a bit of research and decided that although I could fry off the chicken, then add ingredients in to make a sauce, I think that the more traditional(?) method of using 'leftover' tandoori chicken in this curry sounds more to my liking. Granted I don't have a Tandoor oven, but that has never stopped me making Tandoori dishes before!

So a two-step it is!

I love Indian food, and have pretty much every required spice for a more complicated recipe, but I also have a full jar of quality Tandoori paste in the fridge, and it already has most of those spices in. So I am going to take a short cut for the first step.

The second step calls for Kasuri Methi or dried fenugreek leaves. I have fenugreek seeds, but alas no leaves. Apparently celery leaves are a suitable substitute, BINGO! Once again the photography skills need work. Practise, practise...Yum, yum.

Butter Chicken

You will need:
750g chicken pieces (I used 2 breast fillets, halved and 2 drumsticks)

For the marinade:
4 tbsp tandoori paste
4 tbsp natural full fat Greek yogurt
2 tsp lime juice

For the sauce:
700g round tomatoes, skinned and pulped, see note.
2 tsp finely chopped celery leaves
60g chilled butter, in small cubes
1/2 tsp hot curry powder
salt, to taste
2 tbsp cream

Start by preparing the marinade. Mix all the ingredients together. You can skin the chicken, which is more traditional, but I like to leave it on. Score the meat on bones, to allow the marinade to penetrate. Mix the marinade and chicken together, and leave to sit for at least one hour, more is better.

Roast chicken under a hot grill, or in a hot oven until done. Don't overdo it, or the meat will be dry. Gently heat extra marinade in a large simmer pan, and add the cooked chicken. Keep warm.

Cook the tomato pulp in a frying pan over medium heat until the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 7 minutes. Add the chilled diced butter. Once the butter is melted, cook for only one minute more. Add the celery leaves, hot curry powder, and salt, to taste. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the cream, and stir to combine.

Pour the sauce over the chicken, stir gently to combine, then eat!

Tonight we had Butter Chicken with Naan, Aloo Gobi, Rosella Relish, Steamed Rice, and Mint Raita. I ate way too much again! Smokily delicious was the comment from DB. So a hit, must try that again!

Note: Round (not roma) tomatoes are generally better suited to Indian cuisine. The sauce needs tomato pulp, so I guess you could save yourself some work, and just use a plain passata, but you may need to add a few drops of vinegar to adjust for the sweetness. But, just the other day, I discovered a fun way to reduce a tomato to pulp, with just a little effort. So, cut the tomato in half, and use a box grater, over a bowl, to pulp the flesh. Watch fingers! Hang onto the skin, it goes to the chooks! Repeat with remaining tomato halves. Well it's fun for the first five minutes anyway, and by then you're committed.

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