Indian Butter Chicken

Lately, it seems as though I have been struggling with ideas for dinner. Well – that’s not 100% true. Some days I have a plan from the moment I wake up. And some days I’m still undecided and it’s 5:30.

I despise those days….

Truth be told, I’m always up for trying something new, but over the past few months I’ve been coping with a skeletal crew at dinnertime. When we are up in Abilene, I’ve got a crowd to feed – and that’s easy, believe it or not. Of course, the majority of dinners there are “casserole” style, since they can be made ahead of time.

But when we’re home, its an entirely different story. I’m trying to find my balance between having enough for everyone (in case the posse are home), and avoiding so much leftover that it ends up in the trash (which happens more often than I’d care to admit).


Fortunately, this recipe jumped out at me from the my NY Times recipe page (I actually had it bookmarked) – and putting it together was a snap. J proclaimed it one of my best curries yet, and the posse loved it. Serve it with naan bread or rice, or even quinoa. One word of caution – the turmeric laced sauce will stain any article of clothing it touches.

A statement of fact from the woman who wore a white t shirt at dinner that night…. 

Indian Butter Chicken

  • 1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tbs garam masala
  • 2 tbs ground cumin
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, on the bone 
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 medium-size tomatoes, diced (I used a 15 oz can of pureed tomatoes)
  • 2 red chiles, like Anaheim, or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 2/3 cups cream
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed

Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin in a large bowl. Put the chicken in, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate (for up to a day).

In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook until the onions start to brown.

Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, and chiles, and cook until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken and marinade to the pan, then add the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.

Stir in the cream and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Garnish with the cilantro leaves

~adapted from NY Times


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