February 12, 2009

Butter Chicken/Chicken Tikka Masala

I'm going to be a bad food anthropologist here and tell you I have no flipping idea what the difference is between the two. To my uneducated and ungoogled mind, I'm not really sure - because to me it's all a British-based tomatoey/creamy/curryish dish involving tangy chicken. And that I cannot get enough of this and Saag Paneer and once we really needed to figure out how to start making these dishes or be doomed to lifetime indentured servitude to the 12 dollar lunch buffet at Bombay Brasserie or the slightly less doomy trip to Himalaya. (though who am I kidding, all my om noms belong to them)

Thanks to some lovely forumites, I present to you Catbert's Butter Chicken recipe (as modified by me who can't leave well enough alone)!

For marinade the night before
4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Yogurt
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon grated garlic
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon grated ginger
pinch of sugar

For the sauce the day of
1 large onion, chopped finely
1/3 cup butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons crushed ginger
1 teaspoon chopped green chile pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 small can tomato paste (7 oz?)
1 small can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz?)
1 teapoon salt
1 cup whipping cream

chopped fresh cilantro

Night before - chop your chicken into 1.5 inch cubes. In a container that can fit all that chicken and a mess of yogurt and spices - add your chicken and the yogurt and all that tasty goodness. This will make your chicken tender and tangy and your best friend.

Pre bath

bath! and what the container of garam masala looks like. But I am pretty sure you can make your own.


Ok. Now I'm going to be perfectly honest. I didn't remember to photograph anything until everything was done and plated. So it's imagination time!

In front of you is a vivid picture of the usual yellow dutch oven with a nob of melted butter and diced onions that are now slightly translucent with a brownish tone from the curry/garam masala. There are bits of garlic in there as well. Here, if I had ginger and green chilis, they would also be frying in the white bottom of the pan.

In this picture, you see the entire mess of yogurt and chicken added. It looks hopeless. There will be no dinner, only a yogurty mess!

The yogurty mess is cooked until the meat looks unevil and nicely cooked on the outside. There is a picture of this to prove that there is indeed hope for dinner.

In go the tomatoes. Stir well to ensure that all the tomato paste is incorporated. It's going to look a little grainy cause yogurt gets sort of unhappy especially when it meets tomatoes. But trust me, they eventually figure out their differences.

Add the cream and stir. Cover and simmer until you figure out your side dishes; remembering to check on this frequently and make sure the sauce is good.

There is a picture of a spoon covered in sauce and it is the color of a good tomato bisque only there's a bitemark out of it. Over time the level of the sauce will go down a bit due to the diligence of the cook ensuring the sauce is perfect.

it's really good sauce.

While this is simmering - make the rice. White basmati rice is appropriate. I heat up a couple of tablespoons of oil first and toast a couple of cardamom pods and a small cinnamon stick before I add half a chopped onion and a little garlic. After that gets hot again, I add the rice - 1 cup of rice to one cup of water for as much as you're making that day. stir up, cover, put your heat on medium and leave it alone for 20 minutes. after 20 minutes, cut the heat, fluff the rice and serve with the curry.

The side dish is some leftover cauliflower lightly blanched with chickpeas tossed in warm olive oil with a little curry powder and garlic and parsley.

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