I will be honest, this is a dish that I had not heard about until recently when I saw it prepared on a television program. Then coincidentally, one of my local supermarkets had jars of Butter Chicken sauce on special offer. The recipe that follows actually came about quite by accident, but the end result is unmistakably Butter Chicken, or to give it its Urdu name, Makhan Murgi.
Ian’s Butter Chicken
About 670g of diced chicken breast (about 4 boobs!).
About 5 tbsp of butter ghee (NOT vegetable ghee!).
2 medium onions coarsely chopped.
3 garlic cloves crushed.
1 large green chili thinly sliced … seeds included!
1 tbsp of Cumin seeds.
1 tbsp of Coriander seeds.
1 tsp of Fenugreek seeds.
1 tsp. Seeds from Green Cardamoms.
1/2 tsp. of whole black peppercorns.
3 cloves.
2 inch stick of cinnamon (not cinnamon bark).
About 4 tbsp of full-fat natural yoghurt.
2 tbsp of ground almonds.
200ml of double cream.
Over a medium heat, melt the ghee in a high sided heavy-bottomed pan. It is vital that you use butter ghee and not vegetable ghee since it is the ghee that gives this dish its distinct buttery flavour. Now, in batches, brown the diced chicken and set it aside. Next add the onion to the ghee and sauté it until it is golden. Whilst you are doing this, put the Cumin, Coriander and Fenugreek seeds in a suitable pan and roast over a medium heat for a few minutes until they become fragrant then grind them in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Be careful not to burn them when roasting. Now add the ground spices, cardamom seeds, cloves and peppercorns along with the garlic to the onions and fry the mixture over a medium heat for about 3 minutes.
Now return the chicken, with any juices, to the pan, mix well and cook un-covered for a further 5 minutes.