Monday, May 24, 2010

Butter Chicken - Easy and Delicious!

As I'm sure you've guessed, I'm a sucker for food markets, expo's and so forth, and have been, and will continue to go, to the Taste of Cape Town, the Good Food and Wine Show and, coming up, the Stellenbosch Wine Festival! And at these expos I, invariably end up spending FAR too much money on spices, cheese, chocolates and wines - and sometimes, I forget to use them! Horrors, I know!

{Image source: LexNGer, Flickr}

So at the Taste of Cape Town, I bought some things. Some delicious and imminently edible (Yummichef's brownies, er YUM! and blondies), some not-so-yummy (foie gras and chocolate macarons are WEIRD. I don't like the sweet/savoury mixture here), and some for future use, namely Shaik's Butter Chicken Spice Mix, with some Cumin. (This isn't my photo - you all KNOW I don't have a camera - but it looks almost EXACTLY how mine did look! Gotta love creative commons on flickr, thanks LexNGer!

So now I had the spice, I just needed the motivation, and the fear-conquering! I'd heard stories about how cooking it wrong would end up with horrible, tough lumps and wasted spice, and I just couldn't face it! But as the clouds drew in yesterday and the weather grew cooler, I just couldn't stop thinking about how delicious this would be! And so, I bit the bullet, and this was SO much easier than I expected it to be! And delicious! If I can find a permanent supply of this spice, this'll be making a monthly appearance on our menu! It might even be something to impress the in-laws with this week... Hmm..

And here's how you do it. This recipe is a mixture of various recipes I read online, though not one specific one, and the recipe hints on the back of the packet.

500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (I used breasts, couldn't find thighs, though I hear it's juicier)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced (or 1 tsp bottled crushed garlic)
1 tsp bottled crushed ginger (or the same fresh ginger, finely grated)
100-250ml cream (I used reduced fat, and it was delicious, and less fat-making)
2 tbsp Butter Chicken spice mix
2 tsp ground cumin
1 small tin of tomato paste
rice to serve, and fresh, hot naans (we picked ours up from Kabab Mahal on Sea Point Main Road, right around the corner! But if you have more guts than I do, make em!)

  1. Bash chicken breast until of uniform thickness (good for releasing pent up aggression) using a heavy pan, meat mallet, or can.
  2. Chop chicken into bite size pieces, about 1 inch diameter chunks.
  3. Dice onion, and fry with the garlic and ginger in butter until the onions are translucent, being careful not to burn.
  4. Lay diced chicken out flat, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pop the chicken into a ZipLock bag, and spoon the Butter Chicken spice mix and cumin on top. 
  6. Shake up the chicken and spice mixture, making sure the chicken is nicely coated. 
  7. Pour the whole lot, including any spice not sticking to chicken, into the pan with the onion mixture.
  8. Fry for a few minutes, frying both the spices and browning the chicken lightly.
  9. After a few minutes, spoon in the tomato paste, and reduce the heat.
  10. Pour cream over the chicken mixture, stirring into the mixture. I used 100ml initially, but I used too much spice, so I ended up using 250ml of cream, and about 60ml of water.
  11. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, and serve over rice with fresh naans, and either fresh, steamed veggies or a salad, to cut through the richness of all that cream!

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  1. You can make the spice mix yourself. It has chilli powder, dhania & jeera powder and garam masala.

    I have made na'an before when I made Colleen's Moo's Bang Bang Lamb curry:

    I served my butter chicken with Rotis:

  2. Yup, agree with Lady Raven - spice mix is really easy to make. In fact, I did a post on butter chicken a while back sans spice mix if you're keen. Really not difficult, promise. :-)

  3. You two foodies put me to shame! But now that I've tried it once, I'll try it again, sans spice mix! Thanks for the courage/motivation boost, girlies!


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