Monday 21 January 2013


 I have been planning to make butter chicken for some time now but I never could come up with the complete ingredients. My curiosity has been piqued since I've seen it in pictures and recipes. There is a bit of a hitch though. The list of ingredients is quite long and that challenges me a bit. As regulars here have probably noticed, most of my recipes have a short list of ingredients. It is quite a big task for me to shop for a lot of ingredients, let alone use them. Also, if I were to buy a lot of different kinds of spices (which the recipe calls for) and use a teaspoon of each, the rest is bound to get thrown away as I won't need them in the recipes that I usually make.

Still, the recipe of butter chicken is just too tempting not to make. It is the process that I like. The chicken is first marinated in yoghurt and spices, baked, then simmered in a rich tomato sauce. I made a much abbreviated version that is easy and calls for only a few ingredients. 

I used the spices that I always have in my cupboard: turmeric, paprika, ground coriander, cloves and cinnamon stick. Instead of using yoghurt and cream, I just used evaporated milk and a squeeze of lemon juice for acidity. I don't regret what I've decided to do because, just as I suspected, cooking the chicken using that method really tasted so rich and delicious. Both the sauce and the chicken alike were packed with so much flavour. Served with rice and flat breads, it made such a special meal. It was love at first bite for the tasters so I'm sure this dish will be served time and again.

Ingredients for the chicken and marinade:

1/4 c. evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsps. lemon juice
1 tbsps. crushed garlic
1 tbsp. grated ginger
2 tsps. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 whole chicken, cut into portions
1/4 c. butter


Mix the milk, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and spices in a mixing bowl. Add in the chicken and mix thoroughly.

Leave this to marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400° F/ 200° C.

Line a roasting pan with a non-stick liner. Grease the liner with half of the butter. Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer and dot with the remaining butter. 

Bake on the upper half of the oven for 30 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. The chicken should be browned by this time.

You can prepare the sauce while the chicken is in the oven.

Ingredients for the sauce:

2 tbsps. butter
1 1/2 tbsps. crushed garlic
2 large onions, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1-2 red chillies, chopped
2 c. passata (bottled pureed tomatoes) 
1 chicken stock cube
1/2 cinnamon stick 
3 pieces of cloves
2 tbsps. brown sugar
3/4 c. evaporated milk
1/2 sweet red pepper, cut into strips


Sauté the garlic in the butter until golden brown. Take out 3/4 of the garlic and set aside. 

Add the onions and salt to the pan and cook until the onions start to colour. Add the passata, stock cube, cinnamon stick, cloves and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. If you can't find passata, puree tinned tomatoes in a blender or with a hand blender.

Add in the cooked chicken, including the drippings in the pan, the milk and the red pepper strips. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is very tender.   Sprinkle the rest of the toasted garlic and stir. Serve hot with plain rice and flat breads such as paratha, naan or pitta bread.

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