Divine Indian Butter Chicken

March 9, 2011

There are recipes I love, because the flavors produced are so unlike those I am apt to make on my own. There are recipes I love, because the technique is new to me and create an utterly delicious dish using a method I have never tried.  This recipe fulfills both of those criteria.  Though my family loves Indian food, I admit to being hung up on a few standard curries and dals that are regulars in our kitchen. This dish, though it uses familiar ingredients, is unlike any I have made in the past.  Garam masala and ginger infuse the sauce of Divine Indian Butter Chicken with exciting flavor. The garlic, bay, cardamom, and cloves simmer slowly with the tomatoes deeply infusing the sauce with even more flavor.  Top that off with butter and milk (or cream as the original recipe suggests) and you have a silky, spicy, delectable bath for the tenderest of chicken.

The chicken first spends many hours soaking in a tangy marinade of yogurt, ginger, garlic, and garam masala.  Yogurt tenderizes the meat as it soaks.  The next step surprised me.  The chicken is roasted at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.  Never have I thought to use that kind of extreme heat on an ultimately braised chicken dish.  The chicken finishes cooking in the fragrant tomato sauce.  My first bite dispelled any skepticism I may have harbored regarding the roasting technique.  This chicken is so incredibly tender and moist!  The dark meat falls from the bone and the breast slices up beautifully and melts in your mouth.  What is more, this is a perfect dish to make ahead.  Simply prepare the dish and keep it warm and covered until ready to serve.  You can also cool the dish, refrigerate, and heat up when you are ready.  Serve with basmati rice and chutney.  Here is a great recipe for homemade chutney.

Divine Indian Butter Chicken

adapated from Saveur

serves 6

the Marinade

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon canola oil

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes (optional)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 3″ piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

Salt to taste

1 4-5 pound chicken, cut into 8 parts, skin removed

Mix all the ingredients (except the chicken) in a bowl.  Rub the marinade over the chicken pieces.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight.

the Sauce

1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 green cardamom pods, cracked

3 whole cloves, crushed

1 28-ounce can tomatoes, undrained

1 3-inch piece ginger, grated

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup whole milk

4 Tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 teaspoon garam masala

salt and pepper to taste

Chutney for serving

In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine chili flakes through the bay leaf.  Add 2/3 cup of water.  Bring to a simmer and cook stirring often for 25 minutes.  Remove and discard bay leaf.  Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce (or transfer to a food processor and return to the pot when smooth).  Continue cooking the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.

Cooking the Chicken

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Lay chicken pieces out on a foil-lined baking tray.  Spoon any extra marinade over the top.  Bake chicken about 20 minutes until it begins to brown, but is not cooked through.

Transfer chicken to prepared sauce.  Add 1/3 cup of water.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.  This takes about 10 minutes, but you can turn down the heat at this point and let it sit longer if you need to.

Stir in milk, butter, and garam masala.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper

to Serve

Serve chicken with basmati rice and chutney.  Spoon the sauce over the top of the chicken.

Here is a printer friendly version of the recipe: Divine Indian Butter Chicken

You may also like:

Biscuit-topped Chicken Pot Pie

Lamb Kebabs and Greek Salad

Mango Cranberry Chutney


3 Responses to “Divine Indian Butter Chicken”

  1. Teja Gilmour Says:

    I have all the ingredients except cardamom pods. Where in Sonoma County would I find them? Sounds delicious!!

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