I made this butter chicken a long time ago. The file on my computer literally says October. That’s insane, right? I can’t believe how quickly time goes by. I suppose I opted not to post this because I probably thought, well, I should get Thanksgiving posts up. Then all the December holidays. Then New Year’s. Then it’s time to diet and nobody wants to be tempted by butter chicken. Then I probably had a few sponsored posts and those had to get done. But now, here I am, with this glorious butter chicken. I’m pretty sure this is not a traditional Indian dish. Wikipedia says it was invented at a restaurant in Delhi in the 1950s, most likely for Western palates who craved something a little creamier, fattier, and less spicy than what they were being offered. Which is ridiculous, because let’s be real, Indian food is freaking delicious, and there’s no lack of butter or comfort food-type dishes. I mean, give me some paratha and a big bowl of dal and a movie to watch, and I’ll be in a blissed-out food coma in no time. But I digress. Butter chicken is a delicious guilty pleasure and I order it often. Most to-go Indian restaurants around here chop it up in smaller pieces, which make it easier to share, but I didn’t bother with this because the end result is so wonderfully tender that you can just use a fork to eat it – no knives required.
I know it’s getting hot outside, and I know that butter chicken probably sounds like something you’d rather eat when it’s chilly, but look – you know we’re going to get at least one more cold front before summer finally does us in. Next week, when we we’re all inevitably whining and saying, “It’s soooo cooooold where did the sun gooooo?” Don’t fret. Just cook something warm and cozy and put on a pair of sweatpants and catch up on that TV show you’ve been neglecting. You won’t be able to do that in the summer because sitting on the couch when you’re sweaty and hot is no fun. That’s why summer day drinking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. But for now, cling to any chilly thoughts you have left and saddle up next to a bowl of this chicken. You can thank me later.
Those spices, though.
Marinate and wait.
This is the best part: cooking those onions in all that glorious butter.
Next, you’ve got to add the rest of your spices and, of course, tomatoes.
Now all you have to do is add your chicken and let it simmer until cooked.
You guys, this butter chicken is just so damn good.
Make it now!
- 3-4 pounds boneless chicken thighs
- 2½ cups full-fat plain yogurt (or sour cream, if you like it tangy)
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated on a microplane
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely minced
- 1 knob ginger, finely minced or grated on a microplane
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- a small pinch ground cinnamon (less than ⅛ teaspoon)
- 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1¼ cup heavy cream
- fresh cilantro and red pepper flakes, for garnish
- The key here is the marinade–it should really go overnight, but please marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours. Combine all of your marinade ingredients, add your chicken, and pop it in the fridge until you're ready to cook.
- When ready, melt your butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add in your onions and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add in your garlic, jalapeño, ginger, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Add in your chicken and discard any additional marinade (anything that sticks to the chicken is fine). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring every so often, for 35-40 minutes, until cooked and slightly thickened.
- When ready to eat, stir in your heavy cream. Taste, and add a little more salt or lemon juice, if needed (or more pepper flakes, if you like heat). Serve and garnish with freshly torn cilantro leaves and, you guessed it, red pepper flakes.