Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani
I had been craving some good Butter Masala Chicken for quite a while now. In fact some 2 weeks back I even ordered a plate from one of the best yet obscure dhabas in Kolkata which makes a wonderful Dal Makhani as good as the one I have had in rural Punjab Haryana border. While the dal had made me extremely happy somehow the butter chicken aka murgh makhani seemed to fall a bit short to my expectations.
To be fair I have mostly had the Paneer butter masala when in and around the region of Delhi where it seems Butter chicken aka Murgh Makhani was created more than half a century ago by Moti Mahal Deluxe Hotel at Daryaganj.
Last year I had followed harpal Singh Sokhi's recipe for the Makhani gravy which is the base for both the vegetarian and non vegetarian variant and the result was truly magnificent. With copious amount of butter, the tangy taste from the tomato based gravy with the flavouring from spices and ginger garlic paste it blew me away and it led to my husband quickly eating his share so that he could have eaten a bit of my share as well. It actually made me quite happy.
Back in 2007 right out of school I was learning to make a lot of new dishes and I had tried the butter chicken masala but since our oven was broken at that time I used the chicken normally after frying it and so I can assure you that the tandoori chicken makes a whole lot of difference.
To be fair the entire process is not difficult at all. A little bit of patience is needed what with the time for marination and the grilling of the tandoori chicken but the end result is magnificent.
I understand if you have just moved into a new house or are yet to buy an oven then of course you have no other option but to use the gas stove for the chicken before it is cooked in the gravy. In that case pan roast it . I don't recommend this wholeheartedly but then again originally the tandoori chicken is made in a clay tandoor 'Clay Oven' so there you go.
Be warned that copious amount of butter has been used in the recipe and its meant to be that buttery. This is supposed to be for those are days of indulgence hence a bit of extra buttering is welcome. I was gifted this fabulous cookbook from the house of moti mahal by Pritha and I read their recipe for butter chicken but did not like the use of onion so ultimately I derived one on my own which uses their recipe and Harpal Singh Sokhi's recipe.
What I particularly liked was that the book used chicken with bones. I personally feel when cooking Indian gravies chicken with bones work much better than boneless chicken and then I was assured by many on social media that originally it was cooked with bones but not with the skin on mind you.
Serves 3 to 4
You need tandoori chicken : Recipe Here : Tandoori Chicken
For the gravy you need 560gm tomatoes (firm and ripe)
1 heaped tsp ginger paste
1 heaped tsp garlic paste
85gm to 100gm softened butter
100ml to 120ml full dairy cream
Salt as per taste
1 tsp tandoori masala / garam masala made with green cardamom, black cardamom, bay leaf, black peppercorn and cinnamon
1 tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder
Once the tandoori chicken has been made start with the gravy.
Melt 1 tbsp butter and add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 1 minute and add chopped tomatoes and saute stirring continuously for 3 minutes to 5 minutes on medium flame and add 3/4th of the remaining butter. Now lower the heat and simmer till the oil separates and the cream , tandoori masala or garam masala , some salt and mix well and cook on low heat till its bubbling away. Joint the chicken (cut it up into medium sized pieces using a butcher's knife) and add this to the gravy , cover and cook for 4 minutes and then Mix well , add the remaining butter and serve with hot butter chapati or tandoori roti. Enjoy
- If using salted butter go easy on the salt in the gravy
- In case you are not using the oven for the tandoori chicken . Marinate it as instructed and then heat a bit of ghee or mustard oil in a shallow flat pan and add the chicken and cook on low heat covered for 6 minutes per side. Then one the pan increase heat and cook for 2 minutes per side. Let it rest for 5 minutes and cut it into pieces.