Butter chicken, or murgh makhani is a favorite of Indians and Westerners alike. In our house, we eat it very, very often. I hesitate to post a recipe because I am by no means an authority on an ancient Indian dish…But it is an excellent recipe, and I highly recommend it!
-1 T olive oil
-1/2 purple onion
-2 T butter
-2 t lemon juice
-1 T ginger garlic paste
-1 t chili powder
-1 t cumin
-2 bay leaves
-1 T garam masala
-1/4 c. plain yogurt
-1 c. half and half
-2 small jars of tomato paste
-2 c water
-1/4 cayenne pepper
-1 lb chicken (thighs, drumsticks or breasts chopped into bite-sized pieces)
*The ingredient list can be intimidating, but these spices are staples, so once you buy them, you’re ready to cook all sorts of recipes!
1. Heat oil in a large pan/wok over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until soft. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste and spices.
2. Add tomato paste and water, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar to taste.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once sauce is cool, pour it carefully into a blender. Blend until smooth. Place chicken in a 9X13 pan and pour sauce over the chicken.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside.
5. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and serve over basmati rice and with naan.
Notes: To make it more spicy, use double or triple the amount of spices (This recipe is low spice, Varun and I prefer it with 3 times the spices, or medium). To make it more tasty (and less healthy!), use butter instead of oil, and use 1.25 cups of half and half and no yogurt. Blending the sauce is not necessary, but I have found it makes the taste more even. Feel free to experiment and let me know what improvements you make!
*Many thanks to Vicki who showed me the allrecipes.com recipe that this is based on!