Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

I mentioned this recipe in yesterday's post on making paneer. This is my brother-in-law's adaptation of a Gordon Ramsay recipe. There is no photo, because it doesn't photograph well. And that's a shame, because it tastes fantastic.

The ingredient list looks to be a mile long, but it's repetitive -- many of the same spices used to marinate the chicken are added to the sauce. If you love butter chicken, it's worth stocking the spice rack.

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Adapted from my brother-in-law, who adapted it from Gordon Ramsay. Serve with your favorite rice and naan to mop up the sauce. Fenugreek might be hard to find, but it's worth hunting down: It brings a wonderful earthy note. If you can't find garam masala, you can easily mix your own -- try this version.

Chicken and marinade:
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs and/or tenders
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger paste or minced ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons ginger paste or minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cardamom pods, seeds crushed, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more)
1 cup tomato purée
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
2/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
3 tablespoons butter
chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Combine garlic, ginger, salt, chili powder, and lemon juice in a bowl. Add chicken, stir to mix, cover, and chill for 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine yogurt, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, garam masala, and turmeric. Ad mixture to chicken, stirring to coat meat with marinade. Cover and chill for 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set the marinated chicken pieces on a lightly oiled broiler tray and bake for 8-10 minutes. Brush the chicken with oil and turn them over. Bake 10-12 minutes more, until just cooked through.

To prepare the sauce, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan and add the ginger and garlic. Cook for a minute or two, then add the cardamom, cloves, coriander, garam masala, fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, salt, and chili powder. Stir and cook a minute or two. Stir in tomato purée, lemon juice, and honey and cook for a few minutes more. Add the cooked chicken and stir in cream and remaining butter, stirring continuously until the butter has melted and the sauce is smooth. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve with naan, your favorite rice, and fresh paneer.

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