Easy Recipe: Maxine's Bastardized Butter Chicken

Thursday, April 17, 2014

easy butter chicken recipe Monica Bhide

I should start off by saying that I've been wanting to make butter chicken for years. It all started when I read this incredible NPR feature by Monica Bhide, who made butter chicken sound more like a father's love for a child than a dish. I enjoy Indian food but can rarely find a someone willing to accompany me to have it, so I haven't yet had the chance to try a bonafide, potentially authentic butter chicken.

Monica's recipe is an adaptation of her father's recipe. I can do one better -- mine is a derivative of a derivative! So I'm telling it like it is and calling it a bastardized butter chicken recipe. The upside? It's easy to make and easy to find the ingredients in your average grocery store/supermarket!

You're supposed to use chicken thighs, but I had a surplus of chicken breasts so substituted them for the thighs. I couldn't find fenugreek leaves (which is said to taste simultaneously of maple, celery and caramel). I went with fennel seeds. I didn't have a serrano chile lying around, so used dried chili pepper flakes. I also didn't have any tomato puree or heavy cream, so went with garden tomatoes, pureed, and half-and-half, but I will leave the original ingredients be in the recipe below.

Maxine's Bastardized Butter Chicken

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients for the chicken:
1/2 cup of whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 tablespoon of peeled, grated ginger
1/2 tablespoon of peeled, minced garlic
2 tablespoons of Indian tandoori masala
2 tablespoons of canned tomato purée
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of melted butter or ghee
4 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (make slits in the chicken to allow the marinade to penetrate)
Salt, to taste

Ingredients for the sauce:
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 tablespoon of peeled, grated ginger
1/2 tablespoon of peeled, minced garlic
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/2 serrano chile, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions
In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, Indian tandoori masala, tomato puree, salt, lemon juice and butter. Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan and pour all remaining marinade over the chicken. Roast 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the oven and place all the pieces on a platter. Reserve the cooked marinade in a bowl.

To make the sauce, in a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic. Sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly. Use the back of a spatula to mash the tomatoes as you go. Continue until the tomatoes are completely mashed and soft, about 8 minutes.

Add the reserved marinade. Add the salt, chili pepper, fennel seeds and chicken, and mix well. Simmer covered for about 10 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for another minute. Serve hot.

easy butter chicken recipe Monica Bhide
easy butter chicken recipe Monica Bhide
easy butter chicken recipe Monica Bhide
easy butter chicken recipe Monica Bhide
easy butter chicken recipe Monica Bhide
easy butter chicken recipe Monica Bhide

I rarely cook any Asian food at home, but when I took my first bite of this, the ginger really stood out to me. It was homey and warming. As I didn't use store-bought tomato purée, the color of my butter chicken was on the light side, and it needed more tandoori masala sauce. I would definitely try this recipe again, and I still can't wait to try an "authentic" butter chicken.

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