Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhni)

Butter-Chicken-sAs far as chicken curry goes, butter chicken has to be one of the top ones on anyone’s list. The smooth buttery flavours are just divine. When I am forced to grab a microwave dinner, then Woollies’ Butter Chicken is the most likely target.

Butter chicken is a traditional Punjabi dish, or, in other words, a Northern Indian dish. India is so vast, both in size and so diverse in cultural and culinary spectra, that you have to be specific when you say you love Indian cooking.

Sometimes this is called a chicken makhni  or murgh makhni in top-notch Indian restaurants.


The basis: (Serves 4)
Boneless Chicken 400g, cut into 4cm pieces.
Red Chile powder 1 teaspoon
Freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 Tablespoon
Salt 1/2 teaspoon

The marinade:

Greek yogurt 1/2 cup
Fresh Ginger Paste 2 teaspoons
Fresh Garlic Paste 2 teaspoons
Red chili powder 1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala 1/2 teaspoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
Mustard Oil 2 teaspoons

For roasting:

Butter, melted 2 tablespoons

For the sauce:

kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) 1 teaspoon
 Butter 2 tablespoons
 Green cardamom pods  4
 Ground Mace 1/2 teaspoon
 Red Chile powder 1 teaspoon
 Garlic, roughly chopped 5 cloves
 Fresh ginger, chopped 1cm length
 Tomatoes, medium 12, roughly chopped
 Salt 1 teaspoon
 Honey 1 tablespoon
 Double cream 3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon

How we go about this:

  1. Pierce the chicken pieces all over with a fork. put them in a large bowl and add the chili powder, lemon juice and salt and stir well. Cover the bowl with cling-wrap and put in the fridge for half an hour.
  2. Make the marinade: Put the Yogurt into a large bowl. Add the ginger paste, garlic paste, chili powder, garam masala, salt and mustard oil and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  3. add the chicken to this yogurt marinade and stir well to coat. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and put in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  4. Roast the chicken. Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius. Soak wooden skewers in water. Thread the chicken pieces onto the wooden skewers and arrange them on a baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes until almost cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skewers and put them on a plate to cool and set side.
  5. Make the sauce:  Place a small non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the kasoori methi and toss for 2 minutes to make them crisp. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool. The crush to a powder with your hand. Set aside.
  6. Take the non-stick pan and turn the heat to low. Add 1 Tablespoon butter. When it melts, add the cardamom pods and mace, and cook until fragrant. Your nose will guide you here.
  7. Take a small bowl and stir the 1 teaspoon of chili powder together with 1 tablespoon of water until you have a smooth paste. Add it to the pan and stir. Add the chopped garlic, the chopped ginger and the 12 chopped tomatoes and stir well. Cook for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes become pulpy.
  8. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl. Transfer the solids to a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour this through the strainer again, and then discard any solids remaining in the strainer.
  9. Now put it all together:
  10. Place another non-stick pan on low heat and add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter. When it melts, add the strained mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  11. Add the kasoori methi and cook for 5 minutes. Add the salt, honey and cream, and stir well. Cook for 2 minutes.
  12. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 3 minutes. Serve it hot with freshly made naan.

Source: Sanjeev Kapoor: Mastering the art of Indian cooking.


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