Last Sunday dinner was awesome-ness. During his last trip to Assam, Sikander got motivated by Colonel Gursandeep Mundi to do something constructive at home (instead of simply sitting and ordering around! :>). Col Mundi had invited him to his house for dinner and to Sikander’s surprise the Col. himself had done all the cooking. The effect was that I have one more inspired cook in the house :).
This dish was entirely his doing; my only contribution was to give him all the ingredients he asked for. He used two recipes for reference – Jimmy Seervai’s recipe featured in Masterchef Australia and chef R John’s recipe (of moti mahal restaurant, Delhi). But mostly he went by his taste buds in combining flavours. This was, by far, the best butter chicken I have had at home and one up on many restaurants as well.
As an accompaniment, I made fresh naan. But the hero of the day was the utterly-butterly chicken!
A warning- this is not for health freaks! 🙂
Prep time: 15 mins| Cooking time: 30 mins (+4 hours for marinating)| Serves 2-3
300gms boneless chicken
For the marinade
200 ml curd
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder (The kashmiri chilli is not very hot and gives a nice red colour to the chicken)
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi)
For the Gravy
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
200gms tomato puree
2 green chillies, finely slit
1 tsp fresh ginger paste
½ tsp mace powdered (coarse – just pound a few in a mortar-pestle)
6-7 green cardamom, lightly pounded
1 tbsp cashew powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp shahi zeera (use normal cumin/zeera if you don’t have shahi zeera)
300ml chicken stock
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
Salt to taste (chicken stock has a lot of salt already, so adjust the quantity accordingly. We didn’t use any salt in the preparation)
2 tbsp fresh cream
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
1 tbsp Oil
- Wash and cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Stab (Sikander insists I use ‘stab’ instead of ‘prick’) the pieces with a knife edge.
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a mixing bowl, add chicken pieces, mix it to coat all pieces well.
- Keep it aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
- After an hour, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 3 hours.
- Grill the chicken pieces till they are almost done. Keep aside.
- Heat oil and 25gms butter in a deep pan.
- Add shahi zeera once the oil is hot.
- Add onions and sauté till golden brown.
- Add green chilli, ginger paste and all the spices except for fenugreek leaves.
- Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add tomato puree and any leftover marinade; mix well and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add chicken stock; mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and blend the gravy to a smooth paste using a stick blender (I use the blender in the pan itself).
- Add the grilled chicken pieces to the gravy and cook on medium heat till chicken is cooked completely.
- Add the remaining butter, mix well.
- Add 1 tbsp fresh cream and dried fenugreek leaves. Mix well.
- Remove from heat.
- To serve garnish with remaining cream and fresh coriander (We couldn’t get that nice white circle as professionals though 😮 ).
- Serve with hot naan or rice.
Note: For a vegetarian version, you can substitute chicken with paneer (cottage cheese) to make butter paneer. With paneer you don’t need to marinate it for so long, just coat the pieces, keep aside for 30 minutes, grill and add to gravy. You can also do away with marination and simply put paneer pieces in the gravy for a quick version.