Butter chicken
============== 2021-12-02

Inspired by: How To Make Butter Chicken At Home
and How To Make The Creamiest Butter Chicken

Comment: Although this recipe mentions chicken breasts, it is possible and even better to use thighs.
The chicken benefits from being marinated before cooking but this is not a must. If marinating, a minimum would be about 1 hour, preferably up to 6 hours. Adjust the chili and ginger garlic paste and red chili powder to the level of heat you want. Without them, the dish can be made very mild but still very tasty. If ginger garlic paste is not available, simply replace it by the same amount of 1/2 grated garlic and 1/2 grated ginger.
There are many different variants of garam masala in our stores,  but most lack essential ingredients. Since I could not find something that I could relate to, I made my own from the spices in my kitchen. See recipe below.
On the red chili powder, if you have one that is not too hot (idealy Kashmiri chili powder) double the amounts.

4 persons


600+ g chicken breasts in strips or small chuncks
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
A good dollop of yogourt (1/4 cup - 60 g)

1 kg tomatoes cut in quarters (with skin and seeds and juice)
1 onion roughly chopped
50 g cashew nuts (slightly crushed - not optional)  
2 dl chicken stock
1 heap tablespoon ginger garlic paste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorns (slightly crushed)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1+ teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder (or more for hot)
1 to 2 green chili seeded chopped (opt)
S + P

1 dl full cream
a few pinches dried fenugreek if available



First marinate the chicken in a mix of the first 4 elements for at least 1 h.

Then brown the chicken in a little oil (no need to cook it through), reserve.

In the same pan, add a bit of EVOO and a generous amount of butter (~20 g), sweat  the onion, then cook the tomatoes and all the elements in the second list (except the cream) along with a teaspoon of salt. Simmer on low, uncovered, for 20 to 30 mn (or more if your tomatoes are not too ripe).

Transfer to a bowl and purée with a hand blender, or transfer to a mixer and do the same.
Do enough blending, you want a very fine liquid, otherwise you'll have rather little sauce through the sieve at the end (if this happens, add a little water in the sieve to help the good taste out). Note: do not use too fine a sieve, it will not work.

Return the sauce to the pan through a sieve, pressing as much of the juice through the sieve, and discard the hard bits left.

Add a generous amount of butter (~30 g) and the cream to the pan, add the chicken and the fenugreek, simmer for another 5 to 7 mn.

Garam masala (makes ~4 tspns)
1+ tspn powdered cumin
1 tspn powdered corriander seeds
1/2 tspn powdered cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg grated

In a mortar, grind the following
1 star anis
5 to 6 cloves
seeds of 6 cardamon pods

Mix all the ingredients of the garam masala.
Note, there should be bay leaves and peppercorns too, but I have added them in the sauce already.