I had butter chicken for the first time only a few months ago at a local Indian restaurant. It was wonderful and I have wanted to make it ever since I tried it. I am sometimes hesitant to make Indian dishes because spicing and I do not see eye to eye, balanced spices is a challenge for me, I follow and have had help from great Indian cooks like Sonal, Aruna, Chitra, Sandhya to name a few. The other day I received an email from Food and Wine Magazine and it contained a recipe from Andrew Zimmern’s for Butter Chicken, now Mr. Zimmern is a great chef, daring eater and fun to watch on TV. I trust his palate and thought I would give his recipe a try, it looks so easy all you use is vindaloo prepared spice, no tempering, toasting, grinding etc…. I did not have vindaloo spice mix so I ordered from Penzy’s and can’t wait to try it.
The recipe is very easy to make and I love how quickly it all comes together. Whenever I make a new recipe I try to follow the instructions, I didn’t want to add a stick of butter, not that I don’t like butter (love it) it just seemed like a lot, I threw caution to the wind and used a full stick, the other ingredient I had a hard time with is the spice the vindaloo mix, the recipe calls for 1/4 cup +2tbs, I have a very very light hand when it comes to spices and really wanted to only add 2 tbs but followed instructions and added the full amount. I did not use chicken thighs, instead I used boneless skinless breast tenders, it’s what I had. Now the butter chicken I had at the Indian Restaurant was almost orange in color. Mine looks like the one in the photo at Food and Wine I guess the color doesn’t matter but I would like to know why some recipes that I have seen are almost a bright orange, is it maybe an addition of some chili powder?
It was tasty, a bit too spicy for me, but I am a real wimp when it comes to heat. I would probably make it again putting my own spin on it. I don’t like adding meat without sauteeing first, so I would do that, I would use less spice because it was a bit too spicy for me, would use less butter, half a stick rather than a whole stick, I would possibly thicken with cashew cream rather than heavy cream or even coconut milk. Well, I guess it’s not the same recipe then. It was very easy, took less than an hour to make and that I love.
What I learned making this recipe:
- There is a reason they say to use thighs I think they are sturdier, the breast tenders fell apart in the marinade when left overnight, I had to sieve so it is smooth.
- I think it would be worth it to mix your own or have someone custom mix the vindaloo spice mix to tailor to your taste, less of the super spicy stuff. I like this it’s good but I think there are some things I would change to suit my taste. I thought I might have tasted cloves and I was right, I checked the list of spices and cloves were there albeit a small amount it was the last one mentioned.
- Although this is tasty I prefer to layer flavors, searing or sauteeing the meat adds a lot of flavor IMHO.
Andrew Zimmern for Food And Wine
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vindaloo spice (see Note)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
- 1 stick salted butter
- 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Basmati rice, cilantro sprigs and chopped salted roasted cashews, for serving
- In a large bowl, mix the yogurt with the vindaloo spice and lemon juice. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken and its marinade along with the crushed tomatoes and stock to the casserole and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer until the sauce is flavorful and the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve with basmati rice, cilantro sprigs and chopped cashews.