I first heard of Murgh Makhani, Indian Butter Chicken, several months ago, and for some reason, now it seems to be popping up everywhere. When the New York Times published their best recipes of 2014 a few days ago, which including Sam Sifton’s Indian Butter Chicken, I decided I was supposed to make it.
Prior the closing of Savory Spice Shop, downtown then in Barton Creek Mall, I hoarded lots of interesting spices I wanted to cook with, so I had everything I needed for this recipe, Garam Masala, Cumin, Cinnamon Stick. And I had planned a cooking and baking day on Sunday, so I had plenty of time.
First you mix the spices with yogurt and lemon juice and marinate the chicken thighs. I let mine marinate for 5 hours while I made cookies for Christmas. (You could use any part of the chicken, but I was following the recipe.)
Before time to cook, I grated the ginger, minced garlic and chopped onions and got those ready.
The next phase is where the butter comes in. The onions sauté in some oil (I used coconut, although the recipe called for neutral) and 1/4 pound of butter.
The onions cook for quite a while, until they become translucent, then begin to turn brown. This is where a lot of the flavor in this dish comes from. Once the onions were ready, I added the chicken and the yogurt marinade. After that cooked a bit, the recipe called for tomatoes. It isn’t tomato season, so I used a pint jar of my home canned crushed tomatoes. This probably amounted to more than 2 chopped tomatoes, but I was fine with some extra tomato flavor. I also added a little extra red serrano from my garden.
This simmered for about half an hour, until the chicken was done. At that point, you add 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. You are also supposed to add a little tomato paste, but I skipped this step, having none, and because I used extra tomatoes already.
That’s it! After simmering with the cream for a few minutes, it was ready to serve over rice and garnish liberally with cilantro.
It was really delicious. I served it Carolina Gold Aromatic Rice. I thought of infusing the rice with some ginger, but it really didn’t need it. I highly recommend this recipe!