We’re BIG fans of Indian cuisine, and have always enjoyed the “curry rush” that you get from eating the complex spice mix used in these dishes. Between just the curry powder and the garam masala in this recipe, there are 15 different spices. If you enjoy Indian food, this recipe is a winner. Its relatively simple, doesn’t take long to make, and will deliver a restaurant quality dish if you use quality ingredients.
I have tried a few recipes for what is typically characterized in Indian restaurants as “Butter Chicken”. Most have been only so-so, until I “customized” this one to my own preferences . Having eaten in many good Indian restaurants, I would put this one up against any of theirs.
It bears repeating to say that if you want a quality result you have to use quality and fresh ingredients. For this recipe, I bought a “better” brand of chicken than the grocery store brand and a premium brand of tomato puree that is very highly rated in taste tests from one of the cooking magazines I subscribe to. I also used fresh spices from Penzey’s – and if you use their spices you know the seasonings they sell are top shelf and very affordable. If there is no Penzey’s store near you, go to penzeys.com and order online. Once you start with their products you will find yourself tossing out all your old spices and re-stocking with Penzey’s. It makes that much difference – seriously. OK, commercial over.
2.5 lb bone-in split chicken breasts (I used Whole Foods)
1 Tbsp clarified butter (otherwise known as ghee, but its easy to make this yourself.)
1 quarter of a large Spanish onion, finely chopped
½ tsp powdered ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, finely chopped ( about 3 Tbsp) – leave out the seeds or the dish will be too hot
¾ cup tomato puree (I used Muir Glen)
2 tsp curry powder – not the hot kind (I use Penzey’s Maharajah Curry Powder)
2 tsp Garam Masala (Penzey’s is great)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder
4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick)
Heavy cream (for adjusting sauce consistency)
¾ cup good quality whole milk Greek yogurt (Cabot dairy makes a great one, don’t even think about Dannon)
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Roast your chicken pieces in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and let them cool down while you are making the sauce. If its more convenient, you can cook the chicken ahead of time and store it until you’re ready to complete the dish.
Start out with the clarified butter in a non-stick frying pan. Cook the onion over medium –high heat until it starts to turn golden. Add the garlic, and jalapenos. Cook briefly, to get the spices aromatic and then add the tomato puree. Take the pan off the heat for a moment and add the curry powder, garam masala, cumin, chili powder, and powdered ginger. Put the pan back on the heat and cook for another few minutes. Bring the heat down to low, add the butter, and stir continuously until it is completely melted. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the yogurt. Cover and put aside while you prepare the chicken.
Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Cut the meat into good size 2 inch chunks and discard the bones. Put the chicken in a baking dish with a lid, and add the sauce. Mix well. At this point, you will probably find that the consistency of the mixture is very thick. Adjust the consistency by adding 1/3 to ½ cup of cream depending on your preference. Remember that the sauce will thicken a little more during final cooking.
Cover the dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 10 – 15 minutes. Serve over plain basmati rice, and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
While the flavor of the complex spice blend in this dish is outstanding, we had some leftover and reheated it the next day. Wow! Even better. Be sure to save some for leftovers.
Lynn added her special version of Indian chick peas to this dish, for a perfect compliment. That recipe is coming soon!
Your Daily Bread
Proverbs 30:32 “If you play the fool and exalt yourself,
or if you plan evil,
clap your hand over your mouth!
33 For as churning cream produces butter,
and as twisting the nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger produces strife.”