Butter chicken is a delicious, ever-changing cross-continental cuisine that may be found in Delhi, Mauritius, London, New York, Perth, and everywhere in between. It's a velvety red bath of butter, onions, ginger, and tomatoes flavored with garam masala, cumin, and turmeric, with a cinnamon tang, in which yogurt-and-spice-marinated chicken is dressed. Serve the chicken makhani with basmati rice and mango chutney, along with papadums or naan if available, and extra rice if not.
Ingredients for Butter Chicken:
- 1 ½ cups full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 3 pounds chicken thighs, on the bone
- ¼ pound unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil
- 2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 medium-size tomatoes, diced
- 2 red chiles, like Anaheim, or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
- Kosher salt to taste
- ⅔ cup chicken stock, low-sodium or homemade
- 1 ½ cups cream
- 1 ½ teaspoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons ground almonds, or finely chopped almonds
- ½ bunch cilantro leaves with stem removed.
Preparation for Butter Chicken:
- In a large mixing basin, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, and cumin. Place the chicken in the pan and baste it with the marinade. Refrigerate after covering (for up to a day).
- Melt the butter in the oil in a large pan over medium heat until it foams. Cook, stirring often until the onions are transparent. Cook until the onions begin to brown, then add the garlic, ginger, and cumin seeds.
- Cook for 10 minutes, or until the chiles are tender, with the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, and salt.
- Cook for 5 minutes with the chicken and marinate in the pan before adding the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Cook for an additional 5 minutes after adding the almonds, then remove from the heat. Serve with cilantro leaves as a garnish.