homemade butter chicken with raita
I love Indian food.
What I miss about living in Vancouver is the variety of ethnic restaurants - big and small - including a few very famous staples like Vij's and Rangoli. You just can't beat GREAT Indian food. When it's done well, you gotta go back for more. And more and more.
My parents were visiting for 3 weeks to help out after I had Grayson. One night my mom made her butter chicken.
We all devoured it. Went back for seconds, then thirds.
Licked our plates clean. Needless to say, we enjoyed it and we've been going back for more ever since.
I've now made this dish FOUR times since they left (and it's only been 2 months). Obsessed? Yes. Oh, and the fact that my hubby can't get enough of it, is reason enough to make it again and again.
I've even made this for friends and they kept raving about it, so naturally I had to share it with you. I don't post nearly enough recipes on this blog, and so many of you have asked me to. I will but I'm trying to be selective as to what I post because I cook A LOT as you can see. Plus, finding the time to do so is more of a challenge these days (insert new mom emoticon here).
As with all my recipes, this one is roughly measured. My mother didn't give me any quantities for the ingredients, and instead, just listed them out (sign of a TRUE, home cook by the way), but I've worked on it and listed out what I would normally use for a dish ready to serve 4-6 people (roughly, depending on how much people like to eat!).
Homemade Butter Chicken with Raita (basically Indian tzatziki sauce)
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp canola oil
1 small chunk butter (approx 2-3 tbsp)
1-2 pinches, chili flakes
1 package, spice paste for Indian curry chicken (I use Asian Home Gourmet brand)
8-12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 can tomato paste
4-5 heaping spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt
1 C half and half cream (you can also use 2% milk)
2-3 tbsp garam masala mix
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water (mix & pour into sauce if you would like it a bit thicker)
2 cups jasmine/basmati rice + 4 C water & salt to taste
Fresh naan bread
1/2 English cucumber, shredded
1.5 - 2 C Plain Greek yogurt (I use Olympic Krema brand - the BEST)
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
For the butter chicken
Start by adding the oil and butter to your dutch oven (or large pot) hot over med-high heat (I use my 7QT Staub dutch oven). Add the chicken thighs and sear both sides until golden brown (add in shifts as to not over crowd them in the pot). Once the chicken is browned, place them on a dish and set aside (you to NOT need to fully cook them as they will be added back into the sauce for slow cooking).
Lower the heat to medium and add the diced onions to the pot and sauté until tender and translucent. Then add the tomato paste, curry paste and stir. Once combined, add your heaping spoonfuls of Greek yogurt, cream (or milk) and stir to combine. Lastly, add your seasoning (salt & pepper, garam masala, chili flakes and corn starch mixture if you desire). Mix everything up, simmer for 5 minutes then taste for flavouring. Add more of anything if your feel something is lacking (I'm quite liberal with the garam masala). If everything tastes to your liking, add in the cooked chicken and let simmer for up to 2-3 hours. This will make the chicken very tender and allow the flavours to absorb. YUM!
For the Raita sauce
This is the easy part! In a medium sized bowl, add all your ingredients (Greek yogurt, shredded cucumber, minced garlic and salt & pepper). Mix and taste for flavour (should be a heavy cucumber/garlic taste). If it tastes delicious, dump in a container and refrigerate for MIN 2 hours (the flavour comes from the marination).
Once the chicken and raita have had their time to simmer and marinate, cook your rice and top it with the butter chicken then diced cilantro. Serve the raita on the side and with warm naan bread for dipping.