Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Plan Ahead Cook it Quickly Butter Chicken

Plan Ahead Cook It Quickly Butter Chicken

I hate to call this a quick and easy butter chicken when it requires overnight marinating, and a sauce you need to make beforehand, but how else to sell this delicious recipe?  Normally butter chicken is made in two stages, the creamy sauce is made indoors, and the chicken is grilled outdoors, but who here can afford a $20,000 tandoor oven, and who wants to work over a regular barbecue when it's 20 below zero Fahrenheit?  This method isn't traditional, but it works.

You will need my Emergency Masala Tomato Sauce for this recipe, or a facsimile.  Doctor up a jarred tomato sauce with fried onions and garam masala, and you might be fine.  If you must, you can marinate the chicken in the morning, but the longer you marinate, the better the flavours.

1 cup plain yogurt
2 inch length ginger, coarsely chopped
5 hot chilies, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 skinned chicken pieces (I use thighs but breast is even faster to cook)

1 tablespoon ghee
1 cassia or cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon garam masala
sprinkles of salt
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)

Smoked paprika lends important flavours here!
Make the marinade first by putting the yogurt, ginger, chilies, smoked paprika and garlic into a blender and buzz till smooth.  Put the chicken into a glass bowl and pour in the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, and into the next afternoon if possible. 

About 30 minutes before dinner, heat a large non-stick saucepan on medium high heat.  Add the ghee and cinnamon stick.  Pull one piece of chicken out of the marinade at a time.  Use your fingers or a spatula to leave most of the marinade behind.  Put chicken into the hot ghee one piece at a time, taking care to let each piece get as golden as possible.  Once all are mostly gold, add that marinade and the Emergency Masala Tomato sauce.

Keep on high heat a few minutes till all is boiling, then turn the heat down to medium. 
Cook till the chicken is tender and the sauce is thickened, about thirty minutes.  At the last minute, taste for saltiness and add the garam masala and that heavy cream, if you want an especially silky and luxurious taste.

This is great with basmati rice or even better with chapattis, which take a fare bit more work.  I made it for my bookclub in September, and everyone thought I’d spent the day slaving over a hot stove…

If you have the time to get organized, a little bit of work on a quiet day brings the appearance of a great deal of work on a frantic day.  This delicious meal is well worth that effort on that dull and boring day!  If you haven’t made that sauce yet, quick fooling around on your computer and start cooking!

You can serve this with chapattis, or over basmati rice, garnished prettily.  

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