Butter Chicken

This recipe is best if you marinade the chicken for at least 12 hours before cooking. The toasted cashews, cream and honey are the perfect foil to the almost bitter fenugreek leaves.


500g of boneless organic free-range chicken thighs
1 tbsp each of garlic and ginger paste
65 ml natural yoghurt
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp chilli powder
½ tbsp veg oil

For the makhini sauce

40 ml vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods
5 cloves
a good pinch of garam masala
A few bay leaves
3-6 green chillies (depending on personal taste)
15g root ginger
750g tomatoes
75g cashew nuts
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tbsp tomato paste
50g butter
60ml single cream
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp kasuri methi (dried ground fenugreek leaves)

method

  1. wash the chicken. Pat dry in a colander and place in a bowl. Cut slashes in the meat, and using your hands add the garlic and ginger paste and salt, evenly massaging into the chicken pieces.
  2. Pour the yoghurt into a bowl and add ½ tbsp of the chilli powder. Whisk together and
  3. cover the chicken with the whisked mixture making sure it’s thoroughly covered. Add a tbsp of vegetable oil and keep mixing.
  4. Cover the chicken with cling film and marinate for minimum of 4 hours, overnight if possible.
  5. heat up a large frying pan and shaking off any excess marinade, cook the chicken pieces (without any oil) for 10-15 mins.
  6. Cool and cut into bitesize pieces.
  7. Cover with clingfilm and put back in the fridge.

For the sauce

  1. Peel and finely chopped the root ginger.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan on a medium to high heat
  3. When the oil is hot add the cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, cloves and a few bay leaves. Cook for a few minutes and add the chopped ginger. Cook for a further minute and add the green chillies
  4. Add the fresh whole tomatoes and stir, turn hob to medium and carry on stirring for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add 100 ml/ 3.4 fl oz of water and cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, remove any whole spices, blend tomato mixture into a paste like consistency.
  7. Use a sieve to strain into a saucepan. Add a little water to get all the mixture out. Put pan over a high heat and bring to the boil.
  8. Use the blender to crush 2/3 (50g/1.8oz) of the cashew nuts add a tiny amount of water to turn the powder into a paste
  9. Once the sauce is hot, add the tomato puree then the ground cashew nuts add a little water to the blender to get all the paste out, add ½ tsp of chilli powder, 1 tbsp of honey and stir for about 3 minutes.
  10. Add the butter and swirl in the cream.
  11. In a small frying pan dry roast the remaining cashews and roughly chop.
  12. Add the chicken pieces, ensuring everything is piping hot before scattering over the toasted cashews and serving.

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