Butter chicken - my literal favourite. I grew up in Indian household, and I always looked forward to my grandmothers butter chicken. While this easy weeknight butter chicken is not my grandmothers, but it's pretty darn close.
Fast forward to present day, I realize that butter chicken is quite honestly, laborious to make. Is it worth it, yes. Can it be done comfortably be done after a long work/school day, probably not. Traditionally, tomatoes are cooked down until soft, blended with cashews, into a smooth, silky sauce, and simmered with spices. I find that by using tomato puree (passata), the results are quite similar with half the work.
What Makes Butter Chicken so Laborious?
My "as close to authentic, weeknight butter chicken" packs all the flavours you know and love in this classic dish.
Generally, butter chicken requires marinated chicken, and then blending tomatoes, cashews and your other ingredients together into a silky sauce. It tastes great, but sometimes you want a yummy meal without transferring between three different pots and blenders. I feel ya, and this is my answer to that!
My number one tip is to marinade the chicken the night before, and the gravy takes little to no time!
For an even better shortcut, you can use pre-made tandoori masala (spice) to marinate the chicken, only leaving the sauce to worry about. Truthfully though, the chicken marinade is so easy that it does not add much time to the preparation of the dish.
What Goes Well With Butter Chicken?
Butter chicken goes great with either naan or rice. My favourite rice tip that I have learned from my mother and grandmother, is to cook your basmati rice with some caramelized onions. The measurements of your rice do not change, but your rice will have a gorgeous caramelized colour, and an even better flavour.
As for naan, homemade naan is great if you have a gas stove. I, do not, and truthfully in all my tries of making it at home, my smoke detector has hated me. Try out some store bought naan brushed with melted butter, mixed with garlic. It is weeknight dinner friendly, and super delicious.
Easy Weeknight Butter Chicken
For the Chicken
- ¼ cup plain greek yogurt ??
- 2 tbsp lemon juice ??
- 1 tbsp garlic paste ??
- 1 tbsp ginger paste??
- 2 tsp chaat masala ??
- 1 tsp garam masala ??
- 1 tsp paprika ??
- 1 tsp chili powder ?
- ¼ tsp red food colouring??
For the Sauce
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp ginger paste ?
- 15 cashews ?
- 1 cinnamon stick ?
- 2 pods green cardamon ?
- 2 cloves ?
- 2 tsp red chilli powder ?
- 1 tsp garam masala ?
- 2 tsp dried fenugreek kasoori methi
- 1 cup tomato passata or crushed tomatoes ?
- ¼ cup sugar ?
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream ?
- Salt to taste ?
- Marinate chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees until cooked through. Remove, and set aside.
- In a dutch oven with a small amount of butter, cook the garlic, ginger, cashews, and whole spices until fragrant. Add the passata or crushed tomatoes, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the chilli powder, garam masala and salt, and combine. ?
- Remove the cinnamon stick and any of the other whole spices that you can find in the mixture. Using an immersion blender, blend the tomatoes, cashews and any of the smaller spices (i.e. cloves) that you could not fish out. Reduce the heat, and add the chicken to the mix. ?
- Add the whipping cream, and let the mix simmer for 5 minutes. Finish with a dab of butter and enjoy!