Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)
- 1 kg boneless skinless chicken breast
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 6 cloves
- 10 peppercorns
- 1" stick of cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 almonds
- seeds from 4 pods of cardamom
- 1 cup fresh yoghurt (must not be sour)
- 3 Tbs vegetable oil
- 2 onions chopped
- 2 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 14 oz chopped tomatoes, ground into a smooth paste in a food processor
- ½ liter chicken stock
- 2 Tbs kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 3 Tbs soft butter
- coriander leaves to garnish
Mix the chicken, lime juice, salt and red chili powder in a large bowl. Cover and allow to marinate for 1 hour. Heat a flat pan on medium heat and gently roast, stirring frequently the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and almonds till they darken slightly. Cool and add the cardamom seeds. Then grind into a coarse powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder.
Mix the powdered spices above, yoghurt, coriander, cumin, and turmeric powders together and add them to the chicken. Allow to marinate for another hour. Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium heat. When hot, add the onions. Fry until a pale golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for a minute.
Add only the chicken from the chicken-spice mix and fry till sealed (chicken will turn opaque and the flesh will go from pink to whitish in color). Now add the tomato paste, chicken stock, kasuri methi and remaining part of the yogurt-spice mix to the chicken. Cook till the chicken is tender and the gravy is reduced to half its original volume.
Melt the butter in another small pan and then pour it over the chicken. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Naan and Kaali Daal.
For an authentic and traditional cooked-over-the-coals flavor: When the Butter Chicken is cooked, make a small bowl shape with aluminum foil and place it on top of the curry ('floating' on it). Heat a briquette of charcoal on an open flame till red hot and gently put the charcoal in to the aluminum foil bowl. Cover the dish immediately. Remove the cover just before serving, discard the foil bowl and charcoal and serve. The curry will be infused with a smoky flavor.