One of my fave ethnic cuisines that I have been in love with lately is Indian food. There are a couple favorite must-eat dishes whenever I think of Indian cuisine. Garlic naan – it’s one of the most addicting butter-y and delicious flatbreads loaded with tons of garlic, it’s ah-mazing. They have it without the garlic, and it’s just as delicious. The ever so popular Chicken Tikka Masala – chicken marinated in yogurt and flavorful spices and paired with a rich tomato cream sauce. It’s nom-alicous. Tandoori chicken – grilled Indian-spiced chicken. Absolutely yummy. However, I would have to say that my new favorite Indian dish is Murgh Makhini (butter chicken) because of the addicting butter, yogurt and tomato gravy on the chicken. Holy smokes batman – it’s life changing.
This Indian dish was inspired by a recent dinner to one of my local Indian restaurants, The India Restaurant in Artesia. Lorenzo and I were dining with our best friends (fellow foodies), and had an Indian food craving. We all decided to order a sample of the combination dinners to enjoy an array of favorite dishes and taste some new ones as well. I’m so happy that we did because butter chicken was something that I hadn’t enjoyed yet. One bite of butter chicken and I fell in love – the richness and warmth of the chicken was so intoxicating. I loved it so much that I wanted to recreate the dish at home.
Butter chicken is typically cooked in a Tandoori oven, which is a special oval shaped clay oven that withstands lots of heat and really gives the chicken it’s distinct flavor. I don’t have a special Tandoori oven but used my Dutch oven instead and it turned out fantastic. Butter chicken is simply Tandoori chicken and then cooked in a butter and yogurt sauce topped with a creamy tomato sauce. You will moan in delight with each bite because it’s almost as good as the restaurants. This is best served over basmati rice and plenty of garlic naan.
Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhini)
Adapted from Closet Cooking
Chicken Marinade: 1 pound chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces ½ cup Greek plain yogurt juice and zest of one lemon 1 onion, diced 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced finely 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated 1 tablespoon garam masala 1 tablespoon paprika 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon coriander ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 1 cinnamon stick 2 cloves 2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned) 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves 1 teaspoon turmeric ¼ cup heavy cream salt & pepper to taste
Garnishments: chopped cilantro, slivered almonds
At least 24 hours before, place the chicken marinade ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, shake gently to toss together and close tightly. Place the Ziploc bag in a large bowl and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
Remove the chicken from refrigerator, and heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, and add the chicken marinade into the pan. Cook the chicken until no longer pink, about 7 to 8 minutes
In a small skillet, add a tablespoon of butter, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, and coriander and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
In the large Dutch oven, add the butter spice mixture, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and reduce heat to a slow simmer. The sauce will start to thicken, and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the honey, fenugreek leaves, turmeric, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and heavy cream and let it simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper if needed.
Serve over basmati rice and garnish with chopped cilantro and slivered almonds.
Review: Simply delicious and a fantastic way to add some Indian flavor to your diet. You can make a vegetarian version by substituting root vegetables, squash, potatoes, cauliflower instead of the chicken, and it will be just as tasty.