The first time I made butter chicken was for my sweet friend’s birthday. I had my girl, Joany, over for girl talk, dinner, dessert, and wine just me and her. The last thing one should do when preparing a special meal for a friend’s birthday is try a new recipe, right?!
There is something in me that if I’ve got the time to cook up all this food, I want to try to create something new. Margo, logic, use that brain!
Joany, being the sweet person she is, ate it with pleasure. Thankfully I made my yummy ice cream as dessert and all was well!
BUT I was then more determined than ever to make a better butter chicken. And boy, I’ll tell you, this butter chicken has worked it’s way up to one of our favorite meals!
I’ll tell you what I changed and I’m sure you won’t be surprised why it made such a difference. The first time, I made the chicken with only a marinade and didn’t batter and fry it before cooking with the sauce.
Uh, duh, fried chicken, Margo.
Fried chicken, done with the real-food ingredients, is a great healthy, soul food, choice. You won’t hear that from all health food crowds. So if you are new to my blog, here is a link to what we eat around here and another link to the food science I agree with.
For the chicken:
2 lbs raw chicken cut in 1″ – 2″ cubes
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
tallow or lard preferably grass-fed
For the sauce:
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 ½ cups chopped onion (2 medium-large)
2 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pink Himalayan salt, or to taste
2 cups chopped tomatoes
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
Chopped cilantro, to garnish
For the chicken:
Whisk eggs in a bowl. Mix flour, cayenne pepper, and salt in a separate bowl.
In a dutch oven, heat tallow or lard on medium high in a dutch oven on the stove top. Have enough heated fat to be able to cover half way up the sides of the chicken while frying.
Dip the pieces of raw chicken into the egg mixture covering all sides. Then coat the chicken in the flour mixture.
Fry the floured chicken in the dutch oven. Each side will take approximately 30 seconds.
Keep warm for later use.
For the sauce:
Heat butter over medium heat in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add onions and slowly cook until golden, about 20 minutes, reducing heat if they are getting crispy or browning quickly.
Add onions and slowly cook until golden, about 20 minutes, reducing heat if they are getting crispy or browning quickly.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in garam masala, paprika, cinnamon, and salt; cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes, then add cream and carefully puree using a standing blender, but do it in batches or the steam will blow the top off.
Return sauce to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add chicken to the sauce, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat until cooked through, about 12 minutes (remove a couple of pieces to make sure they are no longer pink inside). A gentle simmer is required to gently cook the breasts so they don’t become tough, and you don’t want to overcook them.
Stir in butter, taste and add more salt to taste. Serve sprinkled with cilantro, if desired.