They say imitation is the best form of flattery. I definitely believe this to be true. As you know, I am always on the lookout for good recipes and new dishes to try. I find them all over the place, from a wide variety of sources. I have a plethora of cookbooks. I get ideas from restaurants I visit. I remake recipes from friends, and I try things I find on the internet, just to name a few. And often times, I am even inspired by recipes I discover from our own “blogging family members”. I have recently been inspired by not one, but two recipes from within our own bloggosphere; the stuffed French Toast from Sheree, from The Musette and A View From the Back https://viewfromtheback.com/ Stuffed French Toast and a version of Indian Butter Chicken or Makh ani Chicken from Cedar Oak Farms https://www.facebook.com/cedaroaksfarm/ and The Wacky Spoon https://thewackyspoon.com/. Of course I say “inspired by”, since you know I am going to personalize them and make them in my own way. And that is part of what makes cooking so fun. We all have different ideas and different interpretations, making the end results truly unique to our own tastes and personalities. 🙂
Mahk ani Chicken is a rich, buttery and flavorful dish that is made with all kinds of traditional Indian spices and warmth. Butter Chicken (known as murgh makhani — chicken with butter), is similar to British tikka masala.
Butter chicken is a curried dish that was inspired from Kundan Lal Jaggi and Kundan Lal Gujral, founders of the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, India, in the 1950’s. The curry was made “by chance” by mixing leftover tandoori chicken in a tomato gravy, rich in butter (makhan). Before the partition of India and Pakistan, Kundan Lal Gujral made tandoori chicken in a dhaba in Peshawar in the 1920s. Gujral didn’t want to be wasteful, so he experimented with dried chunks of chicken, added tomatoes, butter, and some masalas to the gravy and thus, gave birth to the famous butter chicken. The mains differences between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala are that butter chicken is more creamy and has less tomatoes in the dish that chicken tikka masala.
For the most part, I followed Ella’s recipe pretty closely, but I also made some additions and tweaks here and there to make it my own. I added vegetables and onions, as well as some honey-ginger balsamic vinegar. I also added more butter. I used chicken breasts that I cut into pieces rather than other chicken parts. As I always say, don’t be afraid to play with your food. Be creative and have fun. 🙂
Indian Butter Chicken with Vegetables
Yes, there are a lot of spices used. This is typical for Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. The combination of all these different spices gives a rich and layered flavor to the dishes.
4 tomatoes, diced
1 stick of butter, divided
1 TBSP dried ginger
2 TBSP garlic
1 large jalapeno, diced fine, or 2 smaller peppers
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp dried cloves
2 tsp cardamom
1-2 tsp crushed peppercorns
1 6-oz can of tomato paste
1-2 chipotle peppers, diced fine
1 tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chipped cashews – I used my leftover honey-lime cashews
1 TBSP poppy seeds
2 lbs chicken
1 TBSP garam masala
1 tsp chili powder – I used ajo garlic chili powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
salt to taste
1 cup green beans, cut into pieces about 1 inch long
1/3 cup onions, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
Mix the tomatoes and spices together and set aside. Combine the vegetables, garlic and ginger and set aside.
In a hot skillet add the oil and some of the butter. I used a combination of regular olive oil and lime olive oil, along with the butter. Carefully add the chicken pieces and brown them on all sides. Once browned, remove the chicken from the heat and set aside.
In the same pan and oil, add the tomatoes and spices and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomato paste, cinnamon sticks and chipotle peppers. Combine thoroughly then add the vegetables, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, so the tomatoes break down and make a sauce. Stir frequently.
At this point, the spices and aromas were oh so fragrant, and only got better as I continued the cooking process.
Add the cream and the rest of the butter and once again, thoroughly incorporate into the sauce.
Add the chicken into the sauce and completely cover. Add the honey-ginger balsamic vinegar (if using)combine well and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
The end result will be a rich, exotically spiced cream sauce with your chicken being very tender, juicy and full of flavor .
I served my chicken and sauce over a combination of lentils and rice with some warmed naan bread on the side and a cool, crisp chardonnay to finish it all off. The crisp chardonnay will pair very nicely with the rich and exotic spices of the sauce.
This is a meal to be enjoyed slowly so every bite can be savored. Thank you Ella for this fantastically delicious idea. It was a huge hit. In fact, we liked it so much, I am going to add some shrimp to the left over sauce and do it all over again. YUM!
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.