Butter chicken is a beloved dish for good reason: it’s easy, comforting and delicious. You can think of this as a ‘gateway’ curry: it’s accessible and not overly spicy. Given its ubiquity, you might think butter chicken has a long and storied history but it was only invented in the 1950s in a Delhi restaurant called Moti Mahal. It was created almost by accident when leftover cooked chicken was stirred through buttery tomato gravy. The chefs knew they were onto something and the dish made it to the menu, then spread widely. Now it’s a staple on Indian menus throughout the world.
My version pays homage to the original but it’s super easy and quick. The flavour of the curry powder is key to this dish – its worth making my vadouvan curry powder but any good blend will do the trick.
Time: 30 minutes
- 80 grams (3 oz) roasted cashews (unsalted)
- 1 medium onion, halved
- 2 cloves garlic
- 20 grams (0.7 oz) fresh ginger
- 40 grams (1.4 oz) olive oil, ghee or butter
- 2 tbsp curry powder (I use my vadouvan)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 650 grams (23 oz) chicken thighs, cut into 3cm (2 in) pieces
- 70 grams (2.5 oz) tomato paste
- 200 grams (7 oz) pouring cream
- chopped tomatoes
- extra roasted cashews, chopped
1. Place cashews in mixing bowl and grind 6 sec/speed 8. Set aside. There’s no need to wash the mixing bowl.
2. Place onion, garlic and ginger in mixing bowl and chop 5 sec/speed 4.5. Scrape down.
3. Add ghee, butter or olive oil, curry powder, turmeric and salt. Cook 5 min/120°C (250°F)/speed 1. (Use Varoma in TM31.)
4. Add chicken and tomato paste. Cook 12 min/110°C (230°F)/Rev/speed soft. (Use 100°C in TM31.)
5. Add ground cashews and cook 5 min/120°C (250°F) /Rev/speed soft. (Use Varoma in TM31.)
6. Add cream. Cook 3 min 30 sec/100°C (212°F)/Rev/speed soft.
Serve with rice, naan and chopped cashews.
- Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Garnish with chopped tomatoes and coriander leaves, if desired.
- I usually use butter in this dish because I have it on hand. Ghee is easy to make too: I show you here. You can use olive oil, if preferred, but I love the rich taste of butter or ghee.
- Use bought tomato paste or make your own.
- Chicken thigh will give a richer result but breast can also be used.
- Use almonds instead of cashews.