Why is it called butter chicken
Butter chicken originated from Northern India in 1948. Created by Kundan Lal Gujral, you may notice that Butter Chicken (known as murgh makhani — chicken with butter), is similar to British tikka masala.
Prepared in a buttery gravy with the addition of cream gives the curry sauce a silky smooth rich texture. Most restaurants are known to add in copious amounts of butter, which as a result can leave you feeling bloated or ill from the slick of grease.
Adding cream at the end of cooking provides enough of that richness you look for in an authentic butter chicken.
How do you make homemade butter chicken
A milder curry when compared to other Indian curries makes Butter Chicken a favourite among families with little ones. You can certainly add as much or as little chilli as you wish. In other words, YOU are in total control of how spicy you make it.
As mentioned above, the juicy and tender, flavour infused chicken starts with an easy yogurt marinade made from scratch: plain yogurt, fresh garlic and ginger, and easy to find spices.
You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts.
- First, mix your yogurt marinade together.
- Marinate chicken for 20 minutes, or overnight if time allows. (The longer it marinates, the more tender your chicken will be.)
- Sear chicken in a skillet or pan. Keep those charred bits on the pan to make your sauce. Browned bits = flavour. If you have too many burnt pieces stuck to the pan, you can discard some of them if you wish.
- Finally, make your curry sauce in the same pot
For the chicken marinade:
- boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger (or finely grated)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tbs butter + 1 tbs oil
- 1 large onion, sliced or chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or finely grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust to your taste preference)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- 1 cup of heavy or thickened cream (or evaporated milk to save calories)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- dried fenugreek leaves
In a bowl, combine chicken with all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade; let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour (or overnight if time allows).
Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When sizzling, add chicken pieces in batches of two or three, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until browned for only 3 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm. (You will finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.)
Heat butter or ghee in the same pan. Fry the onions until they start to sweat (about 6 minutes) while scraping up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan.
Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add ground coriander, cumin and garam masala. Let cook for about 20 seconds until fragrant, while stirring occasionally.
Add crushed tomatoes, chilli powder and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and becomes a deep brown red colour.
Remove from heat, scoop mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water to help it blend (up to 1/4 cup). Work in batches depending on the size of your blender.
Pour the puréed sauce back into the pan. Stir the cream, sugar and fenugreek leaves through the sauce. Add the chicken with juices back into the pan and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbling.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with fresh, hot basmati rice.