Butter chicken for the win
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
After a Sunday morning spent working on job-related writing and a long afternoon of vigorous (and necessary) house cleaning, I was not in any way motivated to leave the house in search of evening sustenance.
We had poultry in the fridge that needed to be used, and after recalling a scrumptious serving of butter chicken I’d sampled at Naan & Brew’s lunch buffet the previous week, I did some research and realized I had nearly everything needed to bring the dish to life. The package of Trader Joe’s naan unearthed from the back of the freezer—left over from more than a year ago, when we hosted a dinner party for friends who would soon be traveling to India—solidified our supper plans.
Many of the numerous recipes I came across required marinating the chicken in a yogurt, lemon juice and seasoning mixture in the fridge overnight, but after Googling “easy butter chicken,” I came across a tutorial that required only a 15-minute marinade. I was sold.
Due to the lack of a couple of ingredients, I tweaked a few things. I used curry in place of garam masala, ground cinnamon instead of a stick of it, and substituted half-and-half for heavy cream.
It turned out those changes didn’t matter much in the long run. My dining companion said the butter chicken was “just as delicious” as the dish we’d had at the Indian restaurant the prior week, and wondered if it could be added to our Sunday supper rotation.
“Sure thing,” I answered. “Please pass the naan.”
1 cup Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. garam masala, divided
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into one-inch pieces
6 tbsp. butter, divided
2 jalapenos, minced
1 cinnamon stick
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. paprika
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
Cilantro, for garnish
Basmati rice, cooked for serving
Naan, for serving
In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon, turmeric, one teaspoon garam masala and cumin. Toss chicken in mixture and let marinate for 15 minutes.
In a large Dutch oven (or wide pot) over medium-high heat, melt two tablespoons butter. Working in batches, add the chicken and cook until golden all over, about two minutes per side. Remove and set aside chicken.
Reduce heat to medium and melt another two tablespoons butter. Add the onions, jalapeños and cinnamon stick. Cook until the onion and the jalapeños are tender, about eight minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, remaining teaspoon garam masala, and paprika and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
Add the tomatoes and bring mixture to a simmer. Add the chicken and toss to coat in the sauce. Let simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about eight minutes.
Add the cream and the remaining two tablespoons butter and stir until the butter has melted. Serve warm over rice with naan.
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