Most Probably the Best Known of all Indian Dishes ~ Its mildly spicy, creamy, savory flavor makes it more than just delicious… it’s addictive!
Note: I use coconut milk instead of heavy cream in many classic recipes… I think it’s delicious. This recipe is well worth the time – the second time you prepare it, it becomes easier. Fresh spices add to the lingering flavor of the dish.
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garam masala, spice blend
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
12 large chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed, trimmed of fat
2 tablespoons ghee*
3/4 cup shallots
1/3 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked in 1/3 cups cool water 2 hours, then drained
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
3 medium fresh garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 whole green cardamom pods, crushed with the side of your knife
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
14 ounces chopped tomatoes in puree
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup coconut milk, not “lite”
1/2 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Place the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, mix to blend. Add chicken thighs, stir to coat, cover well. Marinate overnight, or at least 4 hours.
Make Ghee* (You will need 4 T. total.)
In a small food processor add: shallots, drained cashews, ginger and garlic. Pulse to finely chop. Set aside.
Remove chicken from its marinade, heat 2 T. ghee in a heavy very large skillet, I choose a seasoned cast iron one.
Cook the chicken over medium-high heat until golden, turn over the chicken and cook on the second side until golden, will not be cooked through and remove to a plate. Sprinkle with a little sea salt.
If too crowded in one pan, cook 6 thighs at a time.
Add 2T. of ghee to the skillet, add the spices, (cumin through chili flakes) and stir over low heat for 2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and cook over medium heat until slightly thickened.
Add the Shallot/Cashew mixture, give a big stir, cook for 3 minutes, stirring.
Add the lemon juice, coconut milk and water. Bring to a simmer. Add 1 teaspoon salt, stir in.
Add the browned 12 chicken thighs and nestle them into the sauce.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour over very low heat. When done, the chicken will be very tender, and fall off the bone.
Serve with Sweet and Sour Mango Chutney and Basmati Rice.
Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro and tasted cashew pieces if you desire.
Ghee is clarified butter that has been cooked longer to remove all the moisture, and the milk solids are browned (caramelized) in the fat and then strained out. This gives a rich nutty taste. Ghee has a longer shelf life, both refrigerated and at room temperature.
Cook Unsalted Butter slowly cook over low heat, watching carefully and stirring occasionally, until solids on the bottom of the pan turn light brown and the liquid deepens to golden and turns translucent and fragrant. Also a rich aroma (aroma smells like popcorn) arises in the air. Immediately remove from the heat. Important – If you leave it on the heat too long, you will burn the residue and all of the ghee will have a burnt taste.
Skim off the foam after removing from heat. Let the butter cool awhile to let more of the solids settle, and then pour or spoon out the clarified butter, leaving the remain milk solids in the pan. Pour the hot melted cutter through cheesecloth, fine-mesh skimmer to filter out the foam and solids that have settled, letting the clarified butter flow into a jar.
Another way to skim the foam: Pour the hot melted butter into a container and allow it to separate on its own while cooling, and then refrigerate. After it has solidified, you can easily scrape off the hardened foam on top.
Approximately 1/4 of the volume is skimmed off. (If you need 6T, start recipe with 8T. of butter.)
This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.
See Butter Chicken BLOG for more details and photos.