Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken)

I was introduced to this dish when a fellow student made it during one of our nutrition labs. We were cooking up various ethnic dishes and this was the recipe used by her family. One bite and I was in love!

Don’t get all worked up when you see that a full stick of butter is used in this dish. Avoid the thoughts of trying to reduce the amount used or replace it with something sinister such as margarine. The recipe isn’t called margarine chicken or soy based faux butter chicken. It’s called butter chicken for a reason and the velvety, rich taste of the sauce is worth every calorie in it!

While it is usually served with rice I have served it with quinoa instead. It’s also delicious when spooned over vegetables. I particularly like zucchini but have also used summer squash and cauliflower as well.

Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped

2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 tablespoons ground ginger paste (you can also use fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick of butter

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons half and half

In a large pot heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until just beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno, curry powder, ginger, chili powder and salt. Stir well. Add the stick of butter, allow it to melt and stir in. Let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer until fully cook. Add half and half several minutes before serving.

Serve butter chicken over rice, quinoa or mixed vegetables.

FREEZER TIP: this freezes well but I doubt that you will have any left over because it tastes delicious 🙂

I’m sure you’ve heard that you should cut jalapenos or any other type of hot pepper while wearing gloves. I’ve split, removed seeds and cut jalapenos many times before without wearing anything. Until I made this recipe a few days ago. I normaly take the usual precautions such as don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth when I cut them. Once I’m done cutting I wash may hands well and haven’t had a problem. I would chuckle when reading about wearing gloves and mutter something about those who do must have sensitive mucus membranes. Now I realize I probably had just lucked out.

This time I followed my usual routine – split, seed and dice. I washed my hands well and dried them. Then I rubbed my eye. A slight tingle began just underneath my eye. It started spreading and my eye began watering. I washed my hands a few more times just in case I had missed a spot. My watering eye made my nose tickle so I rubbed the back of my hand across the tip of my nose to stop the itching. Bad move. The tip of my nose started to burn which caused me to rub my nose again before I even had a chance to think about what I was doing. Burning intensified. My now very runny nose made my eye water even more. And, without thinking again, I rubbed it. Several rounds of washing my hands as well as my face and nothing helped. I had to ride out the uncomfortable burning and suffer with the watery eye and drippy nose until it decided to stop.

Moral of this story: WEAR GLOVES WHILE CUTTING HOT PEPPERS!

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