How to Make Butter Chicken

How to Make Butter Chicken

By Malcolm Bedell

Ingredients

  • By Malcolm Bedell
  • During our broke-and-starving college days, Jillian would often suggest Indian takeout for an easy Friday evening meal. For some reason, and in spite of a love of curry and spice, I always thumbed my nose in response. Then, Indian food was simply something I didn’t eat, and couldn’t even really consider. I think, like many people who have not yet been initiated to Indian cuisine, I think I always assumed it was just scraps of bread swiped through insanely spicy glop, some sort of mysterious vegetarian food that would make me sweat and feel uncomfortable.
  • Then, during a shift at the bong store I worked at in college, one of my esteemed coworkers ordered a round of vegetable samosas. Broke and hungry, I tried one, and instantly fell head-over-heels in love. I couldn’t believe that deep-fried sacks of potato and peas could pack so much flavor, and loved the way the intensely smoky curry played off the bright, fruity flavors of the accompanying chutney. I immediately began eating as much Indian food as I could find, and was stunned at the flavor combinations I had been missing.
  • During our last visit to Bombay Mahal in Brunswick, I overheard a couple at the next table having a quiet argument. The husband, a mid-fifties, barrel-chested, no-nonsense type of guy, was grumbling about being in an Indian restaurant, while his long-suffering wife explained, in hushed tones, that if he just gave it a chance, he might like it. I was stunned, and sad; I had wasted 23 years not eating Indian food, and have been making up for lost time in the ten years since. I couldn’t imagine never having tried it at all, and decided to try and find a recipe that could give people who may have never tried, or even think that they dislike Indian food, a way to ease in to the new combinations of flavors that they’ve been missing.
  • Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is as good a place to start as any, doesn’t require tons of special ingredients, and won’t raise any red flags, when you prepare it for dinner. In spite of its name, the dish uses just a spot of butter; the name may be more of a reference to the silky-smooth texture of the sauce. I like mine spicy, but you can make the dish as mild as you’d like. The heat from the chile is mellowed dramatically by the heavy cream, cashews, and garam masala, an aromatic mix of cloves, cinnamon, and coriander. It’s absolutely delicious over rice, and provides an excellent way to warm up as the night gets cooler.
  • Butter Chicken (Murgh makhani)
  • Adapted from a recipe on Vah Reh Vah; Serves 6
  • Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 fresno chile, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped, for garnish
Read the whole recipe on From Away