Introduction: Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken isn't something I typically order while dining at an Indian restaurant. The few times I've eaten it was only because it was an offering in a buffet setting. To me they all lacked the complexity compared to this dish I present for you.
What is here are only guidelines. Use as much or as little of the seasonings in the sauce. Omit the nuts if allergic. Play with the recipe. I did.
- pressure cooker
- sauce pan / sauterne with lid
Ingredients to think about:
- minced ginger and garlic
- bouquet garnis (bay, cinnamon, cardamon, clove, peppercorn)
- tomato and onion, chopped
- green chilies (serrano, jalapeno)
- mild dried red chilies (New Mexican, Guajillo)
Seasoning, combine :
- coriander powder
- cayenne powder
- kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves)
- chickpea flour
...here we're using diced chicken. You can use whatever vegetable or protein in it's place. Be creative.
Step 1: Make the Sauce
In a pressure cooker, saute chopped onions with the bouquet garnis of your masala (cinnamon, cardamom, bay) until the sharpness of onion odor softens, add your ginger and garlic and cook that a bit. Add some salt, and then the cashews, green chiles, dried red chilies, and chopped tomatoes.
Secure the lid of the pressure cooker and bring to low pressure and cook for 15 minutes or 8 minutes for high pressure (consult your pressure cooker manual.)
Step 2: Under Pressure, on the Grind
Strain and reserve any excess liquid. Pour solids into a blender and puree. Strain the puree into the reserved liquid and blend together. At this point, you may refrigerate this sauce and use it as the base for other dishes.
I don't recommend using a food processor but I am not the boss of you.
Also note, that if you have a powerful blender like a K-Tec or Vitamix, there generally isn't any need to strain. You are looking for a creamy smooth consistency that food processors just can't produce.
Step 3: Let's Get the Party Started
Note: If you're using only chopped vegetables as an ingredient, consider tossing them in a light coating of oil for the rub to adhere to.
To your chosen ingredients, add:
- a generous pinch of salt
- a splash of coriander powder
- a splash of cayenne powder
- fenugreek leaves (try tarragon, mint, or lavender if you can't find fenugreek leaves)
- a splash of chickpea flour (or a flour of your choosing)
Mix well and let it rest.
Step 4: Nesting Flavors, Building Layers
While you wait for your ghee to melt, combine fenugreek leaves with salt and pound into a powder with a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, between your hands, rub salt in with the fenugreek leaves. Measure out a few tablespoons of cream.
You want to brown the chicken whilst being careful not to cook it all the way. Remove and drain the chicken on a paper towel, old newspaper, clean nappy, or paper sack.
Step 5: Bringing It It All Together
Take two cups of the sauce we made earlier. Heat it to boiling, add the kasoori methi.
Once the sauce has boiled a minute, add the chicken, mix to coat, return to boiling and immediately reduce the heat and cover the pan. Now, let it cook 3-5 minutes or until the ghee is floating. At that point, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.
Adjust seasoning to taste.
Step 6: All Hands
Eat with your hands.
Traditionally, served with basmati rice, but dang, eat it with whatever you want. I have mine with brown rice.
I have to give credit to my man Sanjay Thumma over at the vahchef at vahrehvah for inspiration.