North India’s love affair with butter chicken is well known. But, most of you may be surprised to find out that this regional staple locals swear by today, was not even a part of their food scene until the 1950s. As a matter of fact, its invention happened ‘by chance’. Yes, you read it right.
The invention of Butter Chicken
According to several reports, Kundan Lal Gujral, founder of the Moti Mahal chain of restaurants, is to credit for the invention of the now globally famous Butter Chicken. In order to save leftover tandoori chicken hanging on the seekhs above the tandoor from drying, Gujral added it to a basic tomato gravy. His idea was to regain the meat’s moisture, but little did he know that he was inventing a dish that would rule the hearts of thousands in the future.
Making Butter Chicken at Home
Typically teamed with tandoori rotis or naan, this creamy and ambrosial main course dish is quite easy to prepare at home. However, many refrain from doing so, complaining it’s time-consuming. But what if we tell you, you can make restaurant-style butter chicken at home in less than an hour without compromising on its taste? Yes, it’s possible.
Chefs Ajay Chopra and Gurdip Kohli Punj share experts tips for the perfect butter chicken. Check out the step-by-step guide to make restaurant-style butter chicken at home with the help of expert tips and tricks.
1. To begin with, take some butter in a pan and saute chunks of ginger, garlic, and onions in it. Once the onions are soft, add dried red chillies, bay leaves, black cardamom, cashews, and diced tomatoes in the pan and cook them together until the tomatoes are soft and blend the mixture into a fine paste.
2. Chef Chopra suggests that you add some coriander stems for extra flavour. He also prefers to add Kashmiri red chillies, instead of the regular ones. Kashmiri red chillies, he believes, lend the dish a better colour. And, to spice up the recipe, he adds one or two green chillies.
3. As for the chicken, marinate it in a mix of mustard oil, yoghurt (preferably hung), ginger-garlic paste, salt, and some spices such as turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, and coriander powder. Do this while the onion-tomato mixture is cooking to save time. Let it stay for at least 15-20 minutes so that the flavours of the spices sink into the meat.
4. Now, roast the marinated chicken in an oven for about 10-12 minutes or stovetop. Once cooked, Kohli says you should shred it before adding it to the gravy.
5. To prepare the base of the popular butter chicken, heat a generous amount of butter in a pan. Now, add chopped garlic and green chillies. Next, add the puree you made earlier and let it cook for a few minutes.
6. Add the chicken pieces (shredded or whole) to the gravy, mix it well, and let it simmer for a few minutes.
7. Finish the dish with garam masala, salt (to taste), dry fenugreek leaves, and some cream.