Will You Be the Butter to My Chicken?

Another failed attempt at an interesting title incorporating a food pun. Also another succesfull procrastination moment on my behalf. Yes I know, how very mature on my part. Sometimes, you just gotta go with the flow.

It’s been much too long since I’ve shared with you a curry recipe, probably a year by now. So I thought I’d share with you a recipe I have yet to make; the main reason behind why I’ve waited so long is because I lost the piece of scrap paper where I wrote down the most amazing recipe ever. I will hoever hunt for the duplicate I made for my mom a couple years back over the weekend. So expect a second version sometime in the next few months…or years if I keep this trend going.

Indian Butter Chicken. One of the most famous dishes ever. If you go to pretty much any British pub around the world (I say this with much confidence, but I haven’t had the chance to travel around the world yet) you’ll find on their menu at least one Indian inspired dish. In my case, I have one of two choices: Tika Masala or Indian Butter Chicken. And they always come served in the same little fancy dishes. These dishes don’t compare to those served at traditional Indian restaurants, but if you live in a city where there are no Indian restaurants, your best bet to try these dishes out are at a British pub.

I think that may have been the reason why I posted so many curry recipes while I was living in Quebec city… I only saw one Indian restaurant in the two years I lived there. And never went in (it was always empty, never a good sign).

There are plenty of ways to make this dish, which is what I love about curries. They all have similar base ingredients, but you are totally free to change things up, and get amazing results every single time.

I’ve made a similar recipe before (where is that damn piece of paper?!), but this one is a little different. I’ve recently had to stop drinking/consuming dairy products containing lactose (bye bye milk and cheese), so I wanted to try this recipe with coconut milk. Yes I know there are lactose-free dairy products, but I had a can of light coconut milk in the cupboard, and it seemed appropriate!

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This recipe takes a total of 30 minutes to make (in a pot on the stove), but you could definitely make it in a slow cooker/crockpot to really get the flavours and depth of the dish. It’s totally up to you and the tools that you have. I highly suggest using chicken thighs for this recipe since they won’t dry up, unlike chicken breasts, and they add so much more flavour to the dish.

You will need

  • 4 to 5 chicken boneless and skinless chicken thighs, chopped into big cubes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (you can always break up diced tomatoes with a fork if you don’t want tomato chunks), or puréed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick (if you have it, if not, 1/2 tsp. of powdered cinnamon)
  • 6 cardamom pods, crush them with the back of a spoon to crack them open and to get the flavours and seeds out (use everything!)
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 glug of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • fresh coriander to garnish

In a big pot, start by browning you chicken in 1 tbsp. of melted butter and the glug of oil.

Once all the sides are browned, remove the chicken (place in a mixing bowl for the time being), and add in your onions. Sweat them off in the butter/oil for a about 5 minutes, until fragrant, then add in your spices, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure to stir everything well, so not to burn the spices!

Add in your chicken and stir really well to get everything coated and smelling wonderful.

Plop in your tomatoes and put the lid on until it starts boiling. When it has started to boil, put the heat down, remove the lid and let simmer for 15 minutes.

While its at the simmer stage, that’s when you should start your rice, I recommend white basmati or short grain brown rice.

Once the 15 minutes is up, stir in your coconut milk and let that simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t worry if your rice isn’t done, let your butter chicken simmer on until the rice is fluffy and ready to serve.

Garnish with some coriander, and serve with a side of warm Naan bread!

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ps: don’t eat the cardamom pods… super bitter!


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