Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

I generally don’t order Butter Chicken when I eat at Indian restaurants here in Melbourne because I get the impression that they are westernised rubbish. And they generally are. Until I went to Bombay By Night in Caulfield who did a really nice Butter Chicken. I realised then that the main difference is that the chicken pieces must be marinated and grilled before putting them into the butter and tomato sauce. They called it Chicken Makhani. I then realise that generally the restaurants that call it Makhani make better Butter Chicken that others! Strange but true.

I consulted many, many Butter Chicken recipes out there on the web and I decided that the one on VideoJug seems to be most authentic one. But it seems a little bit too fiddly so I add my own short cuts here and there.

There are two parts to the Butter Chicken: the Chicken Tikka and the Makhani sauce. Yes it does make it fiddly but it is very good!

Chicken Tikka

I use (for four people):

  1. 4 chicken thigh fillets (about 450 g.)
  2. 1/2 pack of Patak’s Coat + Cook Tikka (I thought I might give it a try but it’s not really necessary)
  3. 2 tbsp of yoghurt
  4. 1 tsp of crushed ginger (I use garlic crusher)
  5. 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1/2 tsp powdered garam masala
  8. a sprinkle of hot cayenne pepper (it’s very hot so I went a bit easy on it)

Trim off any excess fat on the thigh. Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the marinade. Add the chicken to the marinade and massage the marinade into the chicken. Leave to marinate for about 1/2 hour. Grill under medium/high grill until browned on both sides. It takes about 10 minutes on each side on my grill.

Makhani Sauce

I use (the tomato is just there in the picture because it’s purrdy):

  1. 2 sticks of cinnamon
  2. 5 cloves
  3. 5 pods of green cardamon (not black, they are different)
  4. 4 dried bay leaves
  5. 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  6. 1 tbsp of sliced green capsicum (should be green chilli but I didn’t have any)
  7. 1 tsp of ground fenugreek seeds (the recipe asks for kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) but I figured this is close enough)
  8. 1 tbsp of crushed ginger
  9. 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  10. 1 can of diced Italian tomatoes
  11. 2 tbsp of cashew nuts, grind to powder
  12. 1 tbsp of honey
  13. 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
  14. 1 tsp ground garam masala
  15. 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  16. 1 tbsp of cream
  17. salt to taste

Heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan, add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamon pods, bay leaves, cumin and sliced green chillis. Stir for 1/2 a minute until the spices are toasted. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for another 1/2 a minute. Add the diced tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.

Once the Chicken Tikka is done, cut them into bite-sized pieces and reserve any cooking juice. Add chicken and cooking juices into the Makhani sauce. Add the cashew nuts, honey, cayenne pepper, ground garam masala and tomato paste. Simmer for another ten minutes. Season to taste. Finish with a bit of cream at the end. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Serve with naan or basmati rice. I serve it with Vegetable Biryani this time.

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