I’ve recently discovered the charming site FoodForFriendsYeah! and have been enjoying the luscious photography and easygoing style. Last week a tantalising curry passed my RSS: butter chicken. Going a little curry gung-ho of late, I couldn’t resist. I had to try, particularly given it’s enthusiastic and passionate write-up. It’d come from a pretty authentic source too.
I set to marinating my chicken in what seemed like a little of everything of my spice drawer mixed with some yoghurt, and left it overnight to have a jolly good party. The real bonus is this is most of the work; next day is just frying onions and adding the chicken mix then baking. One line from the recipe did concern me though:
“Skim off the extra fat carefully (sometimes using kitchen rolls helps).”
What exactly was I dealing with here?! It was true to its word; I laid a piece of kitchen roll over the dish after it came out and within seconds it was sopping. God knows how much fat was left in it after adding a ton o’ cream, butter and yoghurt to it! To try and counteract this carb fest I invented some tori masala as an excuse to have some greenery.
The curry was very tasty but disappointing in some respects. I felt the chicken had toughened in the baking process. If I did it again I would brine the meat for a few hours beforehand to lock in moisture. The texture of the sauce was quite delicious though; creamy and sticking to the chunks of chicken and perfect to scooping up with warmed naan. The flavour itself was overwhelmingly saffron. While this wasn’t unpleasant in itself I felt I’d added a whole boat-load of other spices to no effect. I would be interested in trying it again without the saffron to see if the other aromatics had a chance to fight through. So on reflection a tasty curry, however I suspect with a couple of tweaks could be very great indeed.
P.S. Two days later I ate it warmed up for lunch, and the flavour had improved tremendously. The saffron had dulled and gave away to other spices, notably cardamom. I would recommend making it the day before and reheating for an enhanced dinner, as is so often the case with deeply spiced dishes.
For the marinade:
3cm long ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, grated
80g ground almonds
¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon garam masala
4 cardamom pods, seeds only, ground
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
A healthy pinch saffron
1 tin tomatoes
150ml thick, Greek style yogurt
1 kilogram chicken pieces, cut into chunks
For the sauté:
4 tablespoons butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
Handful of coriander leaves
1 teaspoon curry powder
5 tablespoons double cream
- Combine the dry marinade ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Stir in the yoghurt and tomatoes and add the chicken. Refrigerate overnight and bring out of the fridge an hour before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a pan melt the butter and add a splash of oil. Sauté the onions until browned and add the curry powder. Stir for a minute then add the chicken mixture and coriander. Continue to fry for a couple of minutes until everything reaches a simmer. Transfer to a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for an hour.
- Remove from the oven and skim off the excess fat. Serve with plenty of naan.