Friday, August 15, 2014

Surprisingly Easy: Butter Chicken

I'll follow up later with a more detailed post, but let's start with the printer-friendly version of a surprisingly easy recipe that's a great introduction to Indian cooking:

Butter Chicken

Shopping List

  • peanut/avocado/rice bran/vegetable oil
  • olive oil
  • 3 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 jar (basil) marinara sauce
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • Kosher salt

Advance Prep

  • Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and remove any bits of tendon. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of garam masala, 1 tsp of cayenne and ½ tsp kosher salt. Mix to combine/coat and set aside. 
  • Chop the onion finely and slice the shallot thinly, and set aside together in a prep bowl. 



  • 1 tbsp peanut/avocado/rice bran/vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot (sliced fine)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)

Pour the oil into a medium (3 qt) saucepan over medium-low heat, and add the shallot and onion. Add kosher salt and sweat (cook until they become translucent, stirring to avoid browning).

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 bay leaves

Add the butter to the saucepan. Once melted, add the spices and stir to combine. Allow to become fragrant over the heat (~1 minute).

  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 12 oz whole milk
  • 12 oz greek yogurt

Add the tomato sauce, milk and yogurt to the saucepan and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat, season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Spice-coated chicken

In a nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the chicken quickly in three batches. Return the cooked chicken to another bowl to cool. Room-temperature chicken works best for this: try to brown the outside but don’t worry about it cooking all the way through.


Once the chicken has completed cooking and the sauce has simmered, add the chicken (and any juices in the bowl) to the sauce.

  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water

In a sealed jar or Tupperware container, combined the cornstarch and water and shake to create a slurry. Add the slurry to the sauce and allow to simmer 5-10 minutes without boiling. Serve over rice or with naan.

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