Murgh Makhani or ‘Butter Chicken’ was the very first recipe I have cooked from my significant other’s Curry book (which was bought for her last Christmas!) and was the recipe I used on Saturday to attempt to show my parents I am finally capable of looking after myself (not that they’ll listen!). It was the first time I’d made an authentic curry completely from scratch and the effort I went to thankfully didn’t disappoint.
In hindsight there were many steps to this curry I could have made in advance to make life a whole lot easier when hosting a dinner party. That’s usually the way though, once you follow a recipe for the first time and then reflect on the steps and the process later on, you make changes and adjust things for next time. It’s how we learn!
Traditionally the chicken is placed on skewers and then placed on a barbecue or in a pre-heated oven however I only had 2 skewers available and for 12 pieces of chicken cut into 3 that just didn’t go! So instead I placed the marinated chicken in a single layer in a large baking tray and turned halfway through, it worked out fine.
So here it is, a beautiful, mild, aromatic curry dish that anyone can make and impress with. Enjoy!
1tsp x Ginger & Garlic Paste
1 1/2 tsp x Salt
1 1/2 tsp x Mild Chilli Powder
Juice 1/2 Lemon
3 x Chicken Thighs (per person, skinned, boned & cut into three)
100g x Plain Greek-style Yoghurt
1/4 tsp x Ground Garam Masala
1.25kg x Tomatoes (quartered)
2.5cm x Fresh Root Ginger (crushed)
4 x Garlic Coves (peeled)
4 x Green Cardamom Pods
2 x Cloves
1 x Bay Leaf (or Cinnamon Leaf)
1 1/2 tbsp x Kashmiri Chilli Powder (or Mild Chilli Powder)
60g x Butter (cut into small 2cm cubes)
2.5cm x Fresh Root Ginger (peeled & finely chopped)
2 x Green Chillies (slit into 4)
75ml x Single Cream
1 tsp x Salt
1 tsp x Ground Dried Fenugreek Leaves
1/4 tsp x Ground Garam Masala
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C (200C fan-assisted)
2. Prepare the marinade by mixing together the ginger paste, garlic paste, chilli powder, salt and lemon juice in a large bowl.
3. Add the chicken gradually and, using your hands, coat each piece with the mixture and leave for 20 minutes.
4. Mix the yoghurt and garam masala and then apply this to the marinated chicken then leave for another 10 minutes.
5. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a large baking dish and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning over half-way through to cook evenly.
6. While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce by placing the quarted tomatoes in a large pan/pot with 125ml water along with the crushed ginger, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon leaf and garlic. Cook until the tomatoes break down and become very soft.
7. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully hand-blend the tomatoes to a puree (or use a blender or food processor only when the tomatoes have cooled).
8. Press the mixture through a sieve to make a smoother puree.
Note: Steps 1-8 can all be prepared a day in advance to save yourself time.
9. Add the tomato puree to a large casserole dish on a medium-high heat and bring to the boil.
10. Stir in the chilli powder and cook until it starts to thicken, then slowly add the butter, cube by cube and stirring constantly. You will see the sauce become glossy.
11. Return the chicken and the juices from the tray to the casserole dish and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce becomes thicker.
12. Add the chopped ginger, green chillies and single cream and continue simmering until the sauce coats the chicken.
13. Add the salt, ground fenugreek and garam masala and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.
Serve with hot naan, onion bhajis and pilau rice
(Source: ‘Curry’ DK Publishing)