Sunday, January 27, 2013

Butter Chicken a.k.a. Murg Makhani

I love my husband.  I do.  I'm teaching a class on Indian Food, and he says to me, "what do you know about the food?"  Well I threatened him with lentils, and he said what are those, and I told him it's a small legume, similar to beans.  Oh no!  This is a man who can't have any beans in his chili, it'll kill him to have red beans and rice, and a good black bean soup - not on your life!

I said I love my husband right, so......I had all of the ingredients for butter chicken.  Though when he saw the mise en place (the ingredients) he had a heart attack, well literally, not figuratively.  A whole stick of butter?  Yes, and then I showed him the cream, heavy cream, full fat. 

I like to use fresh tomato when possible, but you can see by my dinner plate that it's still winter in Michigan, and I opted to use diced tomatoes in a can.

So here goes:

Butter chicken

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon (or more) garam masala
1 cup water (if using fresh tomato)
1 can diced tomatoes in their own juices (or you can use fresh tomatoes, or crushed, depending on how much work you want to do.  You'll have to skin the fresh tomatoes, use about 8 - 10 medium)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon caynne
salt to taste
2 teaspoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons chilled butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
fresh grated nutmeg
Sliced toasted almonds for garnish.

Heat the oil in a heavy large saute pan over medium heat.  Sear chicken 3 minutes per side, adding the garam masala once you turn it over.  Add a bit of water and cook until tender.  about 6 - 8 minutes.  Remove from the pan.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and heat - add the remaining spices plus the sugar and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a few minutes then whisk in the chilled butter.  Add the chicken back to the mixture and reduce the heat.  Stir in the cream and reduce by half to thicken.

Sprinkle with a generous amount of freshly grated nutmeg.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with almonds.

We served the sauce over basmati rice!

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