Surprisingly Healthy Butter Chicken
(recipe adapted from Masala)
A few years ago, I was treated to lunch at a back alley restaurant in a rather down trodden area in Montreal. At first glance, the place offered a minimalist style with basic aluminium tables and chairs, cheap table cloths and ratty wallpaper. The open kitchen held two cooks in white button up shirts, paper hats and permanent frowns. We were greeted warmly by the owner and informed there was only one item on the menu. When our meal arrived, it was a simple trio of lentils, butter chicken and turmeric stained rice. The aroma was incredible, so incredible that the restaurant became magical and bright. First bite… I was no longer in Montreal, rather, sitting in a small house conversing with an old Indian grandmother as she tended the stove. We finished our meals, and almost frantically, I rushed to the owner and begged to know the recipe. He gave me a class and we spent a day cooking together as he told me stories of his upbringing in Pakistan. To this day, the aroma of this dish transports me back to his kitchen, to his grandmother, to his country and I remember his coy smile.
If that isn’t reason enough for you to give this a go… I don’t know what is.
1 kg chicken breast (no bone, skin or fat)
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces
Mix the chicken with the marinade and keep covered in the refrigerator overnight or for up to two days
12 green cardamom pods
2 inches cinnamon bark
1 cup 35% cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup fenugreek leaves (mehti)
Grind the cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon bark together in a coffee grinder until it is a powder.
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan until smoking hot.
Add chicken pieces to frying pan and brown on all sides.
Pour cream and spices into the chicken and continue to cook until chicken is tender and the liquid is reduced.
Serve hot with a sprinkle of fenugreek over top