So turns out I wrote about butter chicken last year. Well forget that recipe. This is by far the superior option.
I made this a couple of weeks ago as part of the three or four day food bender that occurred to celebrate our friend Alex's return from his holiday in South East Asia. Any excuse for us to make food really. I made this two days in advance due to scheduling conflicts but I think that really made the flavour outstanding. It was either that or the fact we were drunk off gin and soda by the time we ate it. We're bad people I know. But at least we were responsible and ate something substantial in an attempt to curb such a state.
I started this off by cooking it up in a large deep frying pan then transferring it to my slow cooker for three to four hours to really make the chicken tender. I'd recommend doing it this way as the slow cooker really helps to intensify the flavours too. I you don't have a slow cooker, just simmer it away for a good hour or so. Try marinating the chicken the night before to maximise the flavour infusion!
Pair this butter chicken up with this delicious pilaf and raita for a real treat. We skipped out on the raita but invested in some good old garlic naan from the local Indian restaurant. That naan went down really well. I think we needed it. I think a couple of wine bottles had also gone missing by this time.
This is definitely worth the time and spice investment so next time you are having a curry-off with your friends, whip this recipe out.
Butter Chicken, Raita and Pilaf
From Ripe Recipes by Angela Redfern
500g chicken breast, thigh or tenderloin, cut into decent sized chunks
1/2 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
2 teaspoons frsehly grated ginger
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oil
1 onion, diced
50g cashew nuts, toasted in a dry frying pan until slightly brown
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 cardamom pods, crushed open
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 whole cloves
100g tomato paste
100ml cream (I used lite cream)
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Tonnes of fresh coriander to serve
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 onion, diced
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used sultanas and chopped dried apricots)
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
handful of fresh mint leaves, torn, to serve
pepper to taste
1/2 a cucumber, halved and deseeded, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain, unsweetened yoghurt
1/4 fresh mint leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the chicken and the sauce:
In a snap lock bag or bowl, mix together the chicken and the other marinade ingredients and allow to rest for at least an hour put preferably overnight or all day.
Once the chicken has been sufficiently marinated, heat up a large frying pan with a good splash of oil to a medium high heat. Place the pieces of chicken in the pan so they are well spaced. You may need to cook the chicken in a couple of batches. Fry until well browned on all sides. Leave to one side.
Wipe/scrub the pan clean and heat it up again to a medium high heat. Sauté the onions in the teaspoon of oil until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. In a small food processor or mortar and pestle, grind together the cooked onions and cashews to form a paste.
Heat up the frying pan again but this time with the 1/4 cup of oil over a medium to low heat. Add the garam masala, chilli powder, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves and tomato paste and fry gently for a few minutes until their flavours have been released.Stir in the cashew and onion paste. Add in the chicken pieces, cream and chicken stock. Bring up to a simmer.
You can either transfer the butter chicken to a slow cooker and cook on high for three hours (adding a bit more water half way through) or leave it to simmer away on the stovetop for an hour.
To make the pilaf:
In a large saucepan, saute the onions in the butter over a medium heat. Add in the cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, salt and dried fruit and toast for a minute before adding the rice. Cook the rice and stir about the pan for another two minutes. Then add the water and bring to the boil. Cover the rice with a lid and leave to simmer for 10 minutes before removing from the heat and leaving to steam itself for another 15 minutes. Fluff the rice up with a fork and toss in the chopped mint leaves before serving
To make the raita:
Sprinkle the salt over the grated cucumber and leave to sit for ten minutes. Rinse the cucumber under cold water to remove the salt then squeeze out excess moisture gently with your hands. Mix this cucumber together with the mint leaves and yoghurt. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve everything up along with a good chunk of garlic naan and you are sure to have a winner!! I personally can't wait to make this again.