Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Butter Chicken - a family favourite

I came to realise the lady at our local Indian restaurant stopped asking for our surname after a while, when we ordered takeaway. She just knew by the sound of my voice and the sad!! After this, Mr M said, "I think we need to learn to cook our own Indian!" (He was starting to think we should have shares in the restaurant we were ordering from!).

One Christmas we were given vouchers to attend an Indian cooking class at the James St Cooking School in the valley - By the way if you have never done any of the classes there I really recommend it, they are so much fun!.

I took Mr M (who thinks putting fruit in a stir-fry is actually ok - sorry Mr M!!) and myself along and we learnt how to make Pakoras, Lamb Rogan Josh and a Cauliflower and Cashew Nut Curry. Absolutely. Amazing. How were we going to make Indian food from packets again?

I was at the shops the next day on the scout for Indian cookbooks not to mention a good shop that stocks all those wonderful spices. I found a great shop called "All Indian Foods" situated in Balaclava St, Woolloongabba, you will find everything you need there.Then on my hunt for something to make I came across a recipe for Butter Chicken, and it wasn't even in my Indian books!!

I found it in The Australian Women's Weekly - Winter Favourites page 67 and we LOVE it. It would be safe to say I can barely peel the pages apart to actually see the recipe as it's been used so many times, why I even need to look as I can make it in my sleep now! It's very easy and my kids really like it, and my Miss 4 is pretty fussy! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Butter Chicken
1.5kg chicken thigh fillets, halved
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons chilli powder - I just added a pinch for the kids
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 cup (140g) yogurt
80g butter
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
410g can tomato puree
3/4 cup (180ml) chicken stock
5 cardamon pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander
(serves 6-8 but in this family of 5 we are lucky to have one small bowl left!!)

1. Combine chicken, garlic, spices and yogurt in large bowl, cover, refrigerate for 3hrs or overnight.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan, cook chicken mixture, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until chicken browns lightly. Add vinegar, paste, puree, stock, cardamon and cinnamon stick, bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 35 to 40 minutes (The sauce does thicken up so don't worry if it looks runny to start with) until the chicken is cooked through.

I will give you the recipe for the Basmati Rice that I learned at our Indian cooking class.

You will need:
500g (2 1/2 cups) basmati rice
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 onion fine diced
1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
3 cardamon pods
1/2 tbs garam masala
1/2 tbs salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric

Heat oil in a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic. Add the rice and make sure you coat every grain of rice then add the spices, cook the spices out for a minute or two then cover with water.The way to describe the amount of water you need is an old method my mother taught me and it has never failed me!!

Cover your rice with water, place your middle finger gently on top of the rice and the water should come up to the first knuckle line on your finger (making sure you're only resting your finger just on top of the rice). Bring to just on the boil and place lid on saucepan. It will take 20min on the dot and you will have perfect rice......I still use this absorbtion method and I even have a rice cooker!!

My neighbours have commented on the smell that comes out of our house when they walk past on their evening walk!!

M xx


  1. Thanky you Maude for this post I have heard so much about your famous Butter Chicken. Now I have step by step instructions surely nothing can go worng........from Mate of Maude

  2. Can't wait to try this out. Is it Half a cup or half a tablespoon of cream? I suspect the cup, hence why it would taste so yummy and buttery/creamy

    thank you x

  3. Oops yes it is 1/2 cup of cream! I have made it without the cream and it's great also....but I would go the whole hog and add the cream!!

    Enjoy M x

  4. Have just joined as a follower. Some great recipes here. Well done sisters.