As of late, I have really been craving to try out some new recipes; push the limits of what I know how to do and add some tricks to the bag. So last night I thought that I would dabble in some Indian cuisine and try making Murgh Makhani, also know as Butter Chicken. Now there are about a hundred different versions of this dish and how you can prepare it. I choose a recipe that didn't involve a trip to Peshawar and wouldn't take three days to make. (I was short on time, and dinner hits the table at 6pm in our house.)
As usual, I did have to tweak the preparation of it. The original recipe technique for cooking the chicken would have dried it out in my opinion and I also wanted more of a puree of the "gravy" versus a chunky stew that this recipe called for.
I have to say that it was a success, because Ian had fourths and now there's barely any leftovers. I would like to try this dish again, tweaking it a bit more. Alot of the online recipes called for fenugreek, which this recipe did not call for, and garam masala which after an hour in the grocery store with a three year old telling me he needed donuts and pudding, I had no more patience to look for.
So please try it, enjoy it and tweak it as you like!
800 grams of chicken cut into pieces (preferably boneless)
1 tablespoon slightly sour yogurt
1 tablespoon(s) vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon(s) each of coriander, cumin and red chili powders
1 onion finely chopped
2 teaspoon(s) each of ginger, garlic pastes or finely chopped ginger and garlic
salt to taste
For the Gravy
4 large tomatoes chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh cream
1 teaspoon(s) each of coriander, cumin, red chili and black pepper powders
2 teaspoon(s) each of finely chopped ginger and green chillies
salt and sugar to taste
melted butter, fresh cream and finely chopped cilantro leaves for garnishing
Heat half the butter and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil on medium-high in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the chicken along with the marinade. Par cook chicken so that the outside is browned, but the interior is still raw. Pull the chicken from the pan and set aside. (Make sure that the dish that you put your chicken in has high sides. You want to retain the juices from the chicken to add to the gravy later.)
There should still be some remaining marinade in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining butter in a saucepan and add the red chili, coriander, cumin and black pepper. Fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and cook uncovered for about 7 minutes till the puree thickens and the fat separates. Pull the mixture off of the heat and carefully pour into a blender. I suggest that you wait a couple of minutes to let the mixture cool. IMPORTANT: Most blenders have a removable plastic cap that can be used to add ingredients to the blender while blending with out having to remove the entire lid. When blending hot items, I suggest removing this cap and using a kitchen towel to cover the opening and slowly pureeing the ingredients as not to splash yourself with hot gravy. After you get a smooth puree, return the gravy to the saucepan. Stir in the cream and reduce the heat to low.
Add the chicken and chicken juices, chopped ginger and green chillies to the simmering gravy. Sprinkle salt to taste if needed. Mix well. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the curry and chicken is thoroughly heated through.
Just before serving pour melted butter over the curry. Garnish with a swirl of fresh cream and finely chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with Jasmine rice and Naan.