Murgh Makhani, or better known as Butter Chicken, is a firm favourite at British Indian Restaurants. Here you can learn how to make it from the best in the business, Cinnamon Club.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the London restaurant scene, Cinnamon Club is one of the best Indian restaurants in the city. Its sister restaurant, Cinnamon Kitchen & Anise, popped up afterwards and then in 2012 another one opened its doors, called Cinnamon Soho. Apparently, another one is in the works, so stay tuned.
As you can see, Cinnamon Club is not your average run-of-the-mill, claustrophobic curry house. Savouring a tipple in the bar, you can enjoy the classy surroundings this venue has to offer which happened to be the former Old Westminster Library.
Butter Chicken hails from the Punjab region in India which is situated in the north. What I especially like about this version is that the different layers of flavours come out in the dish, unlike its counterparts where you can just taste cream and sugar.
Although the recipe used poussin, you can use a whole, partitioned chicken or chicken thighs. It must be stressed that brown meat is the way forward with this dish so use drumsticks and thighs for the best results.
In today’s day and age time-saving and convenience techniques are used left, right and center in cooking. In this case, please don’t use any shortcuts with the 1kg tomatoes as stated in the ingredient list. As tempting as it is to reach for a can of tomatoes or squirt in some tomato puree, just don’t. Extra ripe tomatoes, full of flavour, will give you the best outcome.
Serve with pilau rice or naan, and some Brinjal Bhaji if you’re feeling cheeky.
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- 2 poussins, skinned and cut in half each along the backbone
- 120g (4fl oz) Greek yoghurt
- 30ml (2 tbsp) ginger and garlic paste
- 15ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
- 7.5ml (1½ tsp) salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 15ml (1 tbsp) red chilli powder
- 5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) garam masala
- 1kg (2lbs) tomatoes
- 125ml (½ cup) water
- 5cm (2 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and half crushed and half finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
- 80g (2oz) butter, diced
- 2 green chillies slit lengthways
- 75ml (5 tbsp) single cream
- (5ml) 1 teaspoon salt
- 10ml (2 tsp) dried fenugreek leaves, crushed between your fingertips
- 2.5 (½ tsp) garam masala
- 15ml (1 tbsp) sugar
- First prepare the chicken. Make small cuts all over the chicken pieces with a sharp knife to help the marinade penetrate and let the meat soak up the flavour.
- To prepare the marinade, mix together the yoghurt with the ginger and garlic paste, oil, salt, lemon juice, chilli powder, cumin and garam masala in a deep bowl.
- Smear the cut chicken with the marinade, cover and set aside in the fridge for 10 minutes or even overnight.
- Cook the chicken in an oven preheated to 220°C/430°F/gas mark 7 for 13-15 minutes. You may need to turn the pieces after 8-10 minutes or so to ensure they colour evenly on both sides.
- The chicken should be not completely cooked at this point and will be simmered for a few more minutes in the sauce. Cut the cooked chicken halves into a smaller piece and strain off the juices through a fine sieve and set aside.
- For the sauce, slice the tomatoes in half and place in a pan with the water, crushed ginger, garlic, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf and simmer until the tomatoes have completely disintegrated.
- Now blend this tomato broth with a hand-held blender and pass it through a sieve to obtain a smooth puree.
- Return to a clean pan, add the chilli powder and simmer for 12-15 minutes. It should slowly begin to thicken.
- When the sauce turns glossy, add the chicken pieces and the reserved roasting juices.
- Add a cup of water and simmer for about 3-5 minutes until the sauce turns glossy again and the water is absorbed.
- Slowly whisk in the butter, a couple of pieces at a time, and simmer for 6-8 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is beginning to acquire a glaze.
- Add the chopped ginger, green chillies and cream and simmer for a minute or two longer, taking care that the sauce does not split.
- Stir in the salt, crushed fenugreek leaves and garam masala, then check the seasoning and add the sugar. Serve with naan bread and pilau rice.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Braise
- Cuisine: Indian
- Calories: 548
- Sugar: Sugars
- Sodium: 273 mg
- Fat: 40.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.7 g
- Fiber: Dietary Fiber
- Protein: 35.9 g
- Cholesterol: 153 mg