Secret Recipe Club: Butter Chicken

Another month has gone by already and it is Secret Recipe Club time again. And this month was a real treat for me. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time…. which is today! I can’t wait to see who picked me.

Not only is being part of the SRC fun but I have discovered many new blogs I never knew existed. With time a small wishlist of bloggers has taken form in my mind: blogs I hoped I would be matched with. Finally one of them was assigned to me this time. I got The Novice Housewife, a great blog written by Shamaila. She explains the title of her blog as she is newly wed so novice at being a wife, she now lives in a foreign land where she has to take on the role of being a full time housewife, and she is a novice in Indian cooking.

I adore Indian food and her blog is filled with them, although she has many other kinds of recipes. But she has a themed category: Garam Masala Tuesdays. Being a fan of exotic tastes and spices I have experimented for quite some time with Indian recipes, trying to find more traditional ones. But I never tried one of the basics: Butter Chicken. Her butter chicken recipe is very different from what you get in a restaurant: it is more flavorful, has a stronger tomato base and has a nice spice to it. It was a big hit at the dinner table.

I have to say settling on a recipe was tough. I actually made another recipe from her, a Cherry Clafouti, a French dessert that I served during my raclette dinner party. Blog on that coming soon! But on to the Butter Chicken now!

Ξ Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani Ξ
adapted from The Novice Housewife

STEP 1: Wash

  • 8 medium pieces of chicken, with bones

STEP 2: First marination:

  • 1 tsp ginger paste (freshly ground)
  • 1 tsp garlic paste (freshly ground)
  • Juice of a lime
  • salt, to taste

Marinate the chicken with salt to taste, lime juice, ginger and garlic paste for 3-4hrs.

STEP 3: Second marination:

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • Red chilli powder, to taste
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil

Mix together the second marination ingredients and add to the chicken. Keep it for 4-5 hrs and then bake it in the oven for about 25 min at 375F.

STEP 4: Preparing the makhani sauce:

  • 4 medium sized tomatoes
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 3-4 green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsp peanut butter (optional)
  • 3-4 drops liquid smoke (optional, gives the gravy a smoked flavor)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander or to taste

In the mean time cook the tomatoes in a small pan with the ginger and garlic. Then process in a blender. Heat butter in the pan and saute the green chillies in it. Add the tomato puree and peanut butter. Add sauce to the chicken dish along with the marinade and bake another 25 minutes or till chicken done.

You can add some butter and cream once the gravy is cooked to give it a richer taste. Serve the chicken garnished with chopped cilantro with either Naan or rice.

I made quite a few minor changes to the recipe, one of them adding liquid smoke. decribes how to give an authentic smokey flavor on her blog but I was not equipped to do so. But I really wanted to include the smoky flavor. There is this 24 hour bagel shop near where I live that is run by Indians and they also sell Indian dishes to go. All the sauced dishes have this unique smoky taste I never really tasted in restaurants before. It really makes a big difference and after a bit of research I thought a couple of drops of liquid smoke would do the trick. It did so give it a shot.



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