Monday, September 20, 2010

Butter Chicken

Pretty, it isn't. What it is is is the best Indian dish I've made to date. There was no coriander in it, which was awesome for the coriander/cilantro hating Witch. I found this delightful dish on Taste Buddies blog. It was my first time visiting her blog but I can guarantee that it won't be the last - if all her dishes are as good as the butter chicken, I'll be back for sure!

I made this last week for my house guests who specifically asked for an Indian dish from the Kitchen Witch. Now, heres a wee confession: I've made & blogged about a few Indian dishes thus far. However, what I haven't told you is that there was SOMETHING about these dishes that just didn't sit right with the Witch. The flavor was good at first, but as I ate it, it just got muddy and yucky and left a really bad aftertaste in my mouth. After much pondering, I discovered it was a combination of 2 things: coriander and too much ginger.

Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. I HATE CILANTRO!! I know, I know, some of you say keep eating it, it'll grow on you. But sorry, the Witch just can't. She can NOT add leaves of green that taste like shaved Ivory soap to her food. It is wrong and that taste lingers. Hours later I can still taste Ivory soap. Who wants that??? So, I'm sorry cilantro lovers, you won't see any cilantro or coriander recipes on this blog from here on out. If you really like the flavor of coriander and cilantro, add some! The original recipe calls for it, I just chose to omit it.

Ginger is another problem child. Oh sure, I like ginger. I like ginger cookies and ginger bread, things like that. But fresh grated ginger is a whole 'nother beast. Its very spicy and pungent. A little goes a LONG way. The previous recipes called for upwards of 3 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger, which translates to a hunk about 3-4 inches long. That's a LOT of ginger!!! This wonderful recipe called for a whopping 2 teaspoons, a very much more manageable amount. Again, if you love ginger, feel free to add more.

The chicken was super tender, due to the slow simmering and long marinade in spiced yogurt. Flavors explode on your palette - some familiar like cinnamon and garlic, some unique and exotic like the Garahm Masala spice blend. The sauce was rich and creamy - pink from tomatoes and flecked with spices. Delicious!!

Now lets talk about the name: butter chicken. You'd think it was butter soaked chicken, right? Nope. As a matter of fact there's only 4 tablespoons in the entire recipe. Do you get a big hit of butter? No, you don't. But you do get the richness that the butter brings, and the awesome browning power that it lends to the onions, garlic and ginger.

If you've never made Indian food I highly recommend starting out with this dish. You will need to get a few spices that most of us don't have on hand, but you'll also use a lot that you have in your spice cabinet already. Butter chicken is the perfect "Intro to Indian Food" dish, exotic spices, tender meat, rich sauce and an overall sense of something different and exotic. I do hope you try this soon!

PS sorry there's not more photos, I got distracted while cooking and plain spaced it out!

Butter Chicken
makes 6-8 very generous servings
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tsp chili powder
6 bay leaves
8 green cardamom pods
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp of grated ginger
4 garlic gloves, crushed
1 can of diced tomatoes and their juice
2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbs of butter
1 medium white onion, chopped
1/2 cup of cream
2 cups of water

Slice chicken into bite size pieces, discarding any fat and gristly bits.

Combine the yogurt, garam masala, cinnamon, cloves, salt, chili powder, bay leaves and cardamon pods. Stir to mix well. Pour spiced yogurt over chicken, toss to coat chicken evenly, cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Heat a large sautee pan (I used my 12 inch straight side frying pan) over medium heat and melt butter. Once the foaming stops add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook about 5-10 minutes or until it starts to brown. Don't let the garlic burn or it will bitter the dish.

Add the yogurt covered chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, you want the yogurt to start to reduce and cook down. Add the tomatoes, their juices and the water. Bring to a simmer and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

After simmering remove the bay leaves and cardamom pods. Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Serve over basmati rice.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
Amount Per Serving
Calories 310.6
Total Fat 17.5 g
Saturated Fat 8.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 151.4 mg
Sodium 193.8 mg
Potassium 533.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Sugars 3.7 g
Protein 30.2 g


Michelle said...

My mouth is watering. I know what you mean about cilantro tasting my soap, and I agree. I do like it in moderation in certain dishes. My mother adds it to everything in huge amounts. I guess she liked that bar of soap punishment when she was a kid, too. ;)

Jenn said...

Yes, this will be going on my must make list!! This looks beautifully delicious, Andrea! Ivory soap huh? No wonder Chris hates cilantro so much! hehe

Anonymous said...

The ingredients are wonderful in this recipe. I haven't had breakfast yet and I'd kill for a plate of this. Okay.... I'd slightly injure someone.

Anonymous said...

Looks like my Indian butter chicken recipe. We love it.

Design Wine and Dine said...

This looks DELICIOUS! I have heard those who hate the taste of cilantro (think it tastes like soap) means they are allergic to it! My brother in law, dad, etc... So just say you're allergic! LOL!

Mmmmm, butter chicken! Yum!

StephenC said...

With such a ringing endorsement you've a good case for us to try this dish. I'm ok with cilantro, although I remember that soapy taste from the first few times I had it. In fact, my grandmother used to wash my mouth out with Ivory soap when I expressed myself a little indelicately. I haven't made anything Indian in quite a while. You've inspired me.

Christy said...

i am a huge fan of indian food...this recipe looks great! i like cilantro and coriander...but i have heard your complaint more than once or twice! thanks for stopping by my place..i hope you will join us for tuesday night supper club!

Martha (MM) said...

Looks delicious!
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week :-)

Chef Dennis said...

it does sound delicious, and I have learned that while it is nice for a dish to be pretty, not to judge a book by its cover....I'm sure it made up with taste for the lack of beauty! I don't like ginger all that much either.

Anonymous said...

The butter chicken sounds super delicious, yum!

claire said...

this sounds so delicious- I can't handle the taste of cilantro either!

Karen said...

I am SO in love with butter chicken...I first had it a few weeks ago and can't get enough of it. I think it's time to make it at home!! Thanks for sharing. Looks absolutely delicious!

Ananda Rajashekar said...

Witch darling, butter chicken looks super delicious, yes Indian food gets bit kicked high with some fresh coriander leaves, but still you can very well mange without them, sorry that you hate that gorgeous leaves, oh ya 3 tbsp of ginger is bit much, i would say too, actually, in India when my mum used to make ginger garlic past and store in fridge, there is used to be one portion of garlic more than ginger...but am glad you loved the butter chicken will pop in to grab to pate to eat yum :)

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