I went through a stage of making butter chicken all the time when I was a teenager living at home. I was addicted. I used to use chicken breast, a jar of store bought butter chicken sauce, tomato paste and a tin of coconut milk. I’d always add carrots and green beans and the best thing about it was having leftovers the next day. I’d give the butter chicken a zap in the microwave and serve it on some buttered toast smeared with avocado. Gosh, could you get anything better?
These days, I prefer to make my butter chicken in the slow cooker, using chicken thigh fillets instead. It’s such an easy recipe and makes for the most tasty butter chicken I’ve ever had. Granted, there are quite a few spices from the spice rack required, but once you have all of the right ingredients in the pantry, you’ll make this again and again. Which brings me to thinking about this comedy sketch from funny man, Michael McIntyre that Cork Daddy introduced me to. It’s a hilarious take on the ol’ under-used spice rack. Check it out below.
Gosh he’s good.
This butter chicken is a terrific go-to recipe when you have friends coming over for dinner. Easy as you can have the curry cooked before everyone arrives, and teamed up with some store bought naan bread and mango chutney – your guests will be as happy as pigs in mud. This dish really packs a punch and goes too well with a cold beer. Freeze any leftovers and for a night when you don’t feel like cooking – throw it in the microwave and voila. Dinner is served.
I think it’s important to note that I wouldn’t make this dish for any of the above; my Dad, my sister Ali or best mate Flemo. All three don’t have a very strong tolerance to spice. And spice, this dish certainly has. It isn’t for the faint-hearted.
So if you’re game, show some love to your spice rack and give it a go.
lo’s delicious butter chicken (serves 6 adults)
1 x kilo of chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of any fat and chopped in to 3cm chunks
1 x brown onion, sliced
3 x large garlic cloves, crushed
A good piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about the size of a 50 cent coin)
1 x large red chilli, seeds removed (don’t worry about cutting it though as you want it to flavour the curry and then discard)
A couple of tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon of ground chilli
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 x dessertspoon of salt
1 x dessertspoon of paprika
1 x dessertspoon of ground coriander
1 x dessertspoon of cumin
1 x dessertspoon of Garam Masala
1 x dessertspoon of tumeric
1 x 400 gram tin of coconut milk
4 x 50 gram sachets of tomato paste
1 x heaped teaspoon of brown sugar
Juice of 1 x lemon
1 x head of broccoli, cut in to florets (or use green beans instead)
2 x large carrots, peeled and sliced in to rounds
Boiled rice, to serve
Natural yoghurt, to serve
Naan bread, to serve
Fresh coriander, to serve
NB: I know what you’re thinking – wow this recipe seems to be pretty heavy handed on the spices and salt! It is, but it just really works and you need the salt to balance out the spice. It’s ever so flavoursome! Happy cooking.
- In a large fry pan, heat a dash of olive oil and fry the chicken pieces until browned on all sides. Season here with salt and pepper and reserve the chicken in to a slow cooker.
- Adding another dash of olive oil, add the onion, garlic, ginger, fresh chilli and let it cook for a few minutes until the onions start to soften.
- Now, working quickly, add all spices* to the fry pan and cook, stirring for a minute until you can really smell the aroma of the spices. (Add a little more oil here if the pan is too dry).
- Next, throw in the coconut milk, tomato paste, sugar and lemon juice and bring this to the boil.
- Pour in to the slow cooker, mix around the chicken and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours.
- Add the carrots and broccoli (or any other veggies you like) and cook for another 1/2 an hour or until cooked to your liking. The meat should be so tender that it literally melts away when poked.
- Discard the fresh chilli.
- Serve with steamed rice, natural yoghurt, fresh coriander and some naan bread.
- *It helps to have all of the spices measured out in a small bowl so you can add them to the onion mix at once.
- Serve the butter chicken with store bought naan bread and mango chutney too if you have friends coming round and want to create a little Indian feast.
- I usually like to add carrots and green beans to my butter chicken, but I used broccoli instead as I didn’t have any beans in the fridge. You could throw in as many veggies as you like though. Think chunks of pumpkin, cauliflower, frozen peas, squash, zucchini or even a can of chickpeas. You could also throw in some baby spinach with 5 – 10 minutes to go in the slow cooker.
- Similarly, you can omit the veggies altogether and serve the curry and steamed rice with steamed veggies instead.
- Serving the butter chicken with the natural yoghurt helps to neutralise the flavours if you have guests who aren’t too crash hot on spice. You can also use sour cream instead if you prefer.
If you make this butter chicken, please leave your comments below. xx