I don’t often cook Indian food as I’ve found that what I make is never as authentic as what you get at an Indian restaurant. It’s somewhat strange considering that Indian fare compared to French cuisine is relatively simple, definitely of the “comfort food” variety (curries are after all nothing more than one pot dishes). And yet, I’ve never been able to replicate the taste or appearance of Indian dishes as well in my own kitchen.
A few weeks ago I did try out a new recipe, Chicken Makhani (or butter chicken as it is also known), and surprisingly enough, I was extremely pleased with the results. Chicken Makhani is a dish from the Punjab state in India and is a classic in the world of Indian cooking. The nice thing about this particular dish is that the gravy can be made as hot or mild as you like to so it meshes with most palates (i.e. if you have a weak stomach like myself, you’re in luck with this dish).
The recipe was courtesy of my Great Tastes One Pot cookbook and I definitely recommend giving it a try as you probably have most of the ingredients already in your kitchen and for the ones you don’t, well a trip to an ethnic grocery store is clearly in your cards.
recipe via Great Tastes One Pot by Bay Books
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 lb 4 oz boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, quartered (I used chicken breasts and cut them into pieces before browning them)
3 1/2 ounces butter or ghee
3 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamon pods, bruised (I omitted these)
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons plain yogurt
3/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1) Heat a frying pan or wok until very hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. Add half the chicken and stir fry for 4 minutes, or until browned. Remove from the pan. Add extra oil as needed, and cook the remaining chicken, then remove.
2) Reduce the heat, add the butter to the pan or wok and melt. Add the garam masala, sweet paprika, coriander, ginger, cumin, garlic, chili powder, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods, and stir-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant. Return the chicken to the pan and mix in the spices so it is well coated.
3) Add the tomato paste and sugar, and simmer, stirring, for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add the yogurt, cream, and lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.