Recipe of the Week: Butter Chicken

This weekend, I’ll be making my dad’s famous Butter Chicken. After working in the restaurant industry as a chef and owner for nearly 40 years, my dad has perfected his Butter Chicken recipe and here I am sharing it with all of you (lucky you).

Butter Chicken is a well-known Indian delicacy here in North America but prides from the heart of Punjab, India. Almost everyone I know, that has been to my father’s restaurant, knows that he’s the top chef in Toronto for it. It’s his specialty and you just can’t get any better than this.

My dad retired after Ni was born and sadly sold the restaurant. But he still remembers all his recipes and shares them with me, when I need guidance.

This recipe might seem a bit overwhelming, but if you can cope with the few steps and tons of ingredients, trust me – your family will love you for it!

This Butter Chicken recipe is in done in a couple of parts. First the marinade, second the butter (makhni) gravy and third the mixture of both. So, I’m going to list the ingredients out in that order for you.

Here’s what you need to marinade the chicken:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mustard oil

Here’s what you need for the butter gravy:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2-3 chopped green chillies (this is your preference on how hot you want it to taste)
  • 1 tsp chilli red chilli powder (again, your preference)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dry fenugreek leaves (aka Kasuri Methi)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup puree tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 4-5 cardamoms
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 5-6 peppercorn
  • 1-3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Here’s what else you need:

  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts (cut into cubes)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter

Here’s what you do:

Make deep cuts into the chicken breast cubes, rub chilli powder, salt and lime juice over the chicken and set aside for at least 1 hour.

Next, prepare you marinade. Mix yogurt, chilli powder, ginger and garlic paste, salt, lemon juice, mustard oil and garam masala in another bowl. Rub this marinade all over chicken pieces, cover with saran-wrap and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Remove chicken from fridge and put pieces on a skewer (2-3 pieces per skewer). If you don’t have skewers, you can just grease a baking sheet and stick the chicken in the oven that way. Make sure to add a coat of butter on both sides of the chicken before putting it in the oven. Let bake for 10 minutes, turning at least once and basting it with butter on the other side as well. Remove after 10 minutes and set aside.

Now prepare your gravy. Heat butter in a saucepan, add cardamom, peppercorn, and cinnamon sticks and let saute for a couple of minutes or until sizzling. Add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies and let cook for another 2 minutes. Add in your puree tomatoes and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, you’re going to add your red chilli powder, garam masala, fenugreek leaves, salt and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

When all ingredients are nicely blended, add the water, let simmer for a couple of minutes or until a nice paste has been made. Add in your chicken pieces and cook for 1-2 minutes. Once your chicken is nicely covered in the sauce, add the cream. Mix well and let cook for at least 10-12 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with butter naan or rice. Try out my recipe and let me know how it turned out!

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