Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Butter Chicken

Tonight I made Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice, peas and Naan bread.

I decided to try it from scratch rather than from a package, as with most things I like to try for the first time so I can understand the length and process that it takes to make this delicious dish.  The rare seeming ingredients are actually pretty common I found out.  If you are from Canada I was able to find them in Superstore, otherwise Indian Spice stores will likely have what you want.

This recipe is complex and takes an entire day to make:
You'll need a few recipes in order to make it.

1) Garam Masala Powder (yes you can buy this and same some money in the short term, but why???)
makes 2 tbsp
8 cloves
4 tsp of cumin seeds
3 whole green cardamom seeds
2 whole black cardamom seeds
A 2" cinnamon stick (you can use REAL cinnamon or cassia, the more commonly sold in north america is cassia, but that's another blog)
2 tsp coriander seeds (the seed that wants to be cilantro)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (my favourite American celeb chef always keeps one in his pocket, I don't cause I don't like lint in my food, but whatever floats your boat.)

a) Toss everything into a frying pan and turn the heat to med.
b) Move the whole spice around in the pan until they become fragrant.  Meaning they will start to give off a wonder smell that isn't charcoal, charcoal means you've burnt it... start again.
c) Move all of these spices to a coffee grinder that had been cleaned and wiped out.  Taken them for a spin and grind them up.  You can also use a food processor or if you REALLY want a unique experience use a Mortar and Pestle.  Move to a clean jar with a lid, this spice will last up to 3 months.

2)Ginger-Garlic Paste
makes 1 cup
a #100 scoop is approx. 1 tbsp  You can freeze it in an ice cube tray.

2 serrano green chilies
1/2 cup fresh gingerroot, peeled
1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp cold water

a) remove stems from chillies.
b) put everything in a food processor and puree into a paste.
c) add water (no more than 1 tbsp) to make a smooth paste.

3) Tandoori Masala
1/2 tsp carom seeds (bishops weed is also the same thing)
1 tbsp warm spice mix
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 black salt (I did not find this product at superstore, however I know it exists you can find it in Indian Specialty shops, but you can also sub in table salt)
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi)
1/4 tsp dried mango powder (Amchur is the ingredient name)

a) Grind up the Carom seeds
b) Combine everything in an airtight jar.

4) Hung Yogurt
makes 1 1/2 cups

2 cups plain yogurt

a) Line a sieve with cheese cloth.  Place the yogurt in the sieve and suspend it over the bowl.
b) Drain the liquid in to the bowl, then discard the liquid.  Tie up the cheese cloth to form a pouch and weight it down with cans.  You can use a plastic bag to cover the cans.  Leave it for 2 hours to allow the remaining liquid to drain.
c) Remove the cheesecloth and transfer the yogurt to a container.  This actually will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

5) Clarified Butter
Makes 1/2 of the original amount

1/2 to 1 pound of unsalted butter

a) On low-med heat in a sauce pot place your butter.
b) Allow the butter to melt until it separates and foams.  Scrape off the foam into a strainer.
c) Pour into a container and try to leave the white milk fat at the bottom of the pot behind.  The butter will separate in the container anyway, and you can take your clarified disk out and keep it literally FOREVER!!!!!!!  The milk fat is the part of the butter that causes it to go bad, once you remove the milk fat all you have is pure unadulterated fat!  MMM-MMM-MMM-MMMMMM!!!!

So now we have our prep list!!!  Yes 5 recipes and you just have your prep list!!!  It is a little bit of work for this recipe.

6) Sizzling Tandoori Chicken
Serves 4-5
Ready in about 8 1/2 hours

3/4 cup Hung Yogurt
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp tandoori masala mix
1/4 tsp carom seeds
salt to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice
red food coloring, a few drops will do
2 tbsp oil
8 skinless bone-IN chicken thights (cut shallow slits in them)
metled butter for basting

  • Grab a freezer bag and put everything in it.  Mix it all up and marinate for at least 8 hours or over night.
  • Heat your hot box or oven to 400˚F.
  • Take out an extra large frying pan, you'll want it to make your butter chicken recipe.
  • Cook this recipe for 20-25 minutes
  • Take out the chicken and place it in a separate dish, now get ready to make the final recipe for this dish!
7) Butter Chicken
Make 4-5 servings, and is ready in 20 mintues.

4 tbs butter
1/2 tsp veg oil
2 tsp ginger-garlic mix
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup tomato puree (buy the puree, if you don't and you blend a can of tomatoes you'll want to cook out the liquid for some time to allow the sauce to thicken up a bit)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
salt to taste 
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
the tandoori chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream (save yourself the hassle, just buy the heavy cream, you're not eating this dish to watch your weight.)
  • Turn on a burner to med with you just out of the oven hot fry pan.  I hope you didn't clean out that yummy tandoori sauce, you'll want it.
  • Add your oil and butter.
  • Now add the ginger-garlic, and saute for a few minutes approx. 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and puree.  Cook through and crush the tomatoes with your cooking utensil.
  • Add everything else except the cream.  Before you add the salt make sure you taste this sauce.  Add your salt as you feel you're going to need it.  You'll notice that the salt will not quite respond right away.  That is because of our tomatoes, the acid actually masks the salt.  But you should notice that the taste has "livened up" a bit.  A few small pinches is more than enough.
  • Cook your chicken all the way now, a safe temperature to end at is about 160 to 180˚F.
  • If your sauce isn't very thick by this point take your chicken out and place it in a clean serving dish large enough to hold both the chicken and the sauce, but continue to reduce the sauce until it thickens a little more.  You don't want to quite coat the back of a spoon, but close.
  • Now add your cream and bring the sauce back up to temperature.  The cream while also thicken as it cooks.  You want that milk fat to work for you it keeps the cream from separating with all the acid that is in this dish, hence why you use whipping cream or heavy cream at least 35% milk fat.
  • TA DA!!  Your two days of cooking is now complete.  This recipe is really bigger than its bite, and you should now be commended for your brilliant effort!!  Serve this with Basmatti rice and if you'd like some yummy Naan bread!  I wasn't happy with mine, as I thought it was really over mixed and I didn't understand one of the ingredients in the recipe book I used.  But there are a lot of other web site on here that I think would be great guides.  I will post a Naan recipe once I find one that works for me though.  Rice is pretty simple, its a 2:1 ratio water to rice.  boil until the water is no longer present and the rice is stiffened then take it off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Voila!
I hope you've enjoyed this lengthy process!!!

Chef Corey

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