Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken Tikka Masala

Butter Chicken: warm, comforting and delicious.

 

Recently at a family gathering, I asked everyone what was his or her idea of comfort food. My future son-in-law Michael mentioned Indian foods like chicken tikka masala. For a Brit, Indian dishes are warming and comforting. Fish and chip shops are not as common as Americans might guess. And a variant of chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, is a favorite in our home.

My sister-in-law, Gretchen, raved about the Butter Chicken at a Lafayette restaurant, Masala, and I couldn’t wait to try it. I liked it so much, I set out to develop a recipe that Gretch could make anytime she had the envies for it, and even created ready-to-use spice mixes for her. I don’t think she ever got around to making it for herself, but big brother Harris became a huge fan of the dish as well, and whenever I made it, he was was sure to call Gretch and invite her over. Sadly Gretchen passed away a few years ago. And Butter Chicken has become not only a comfort dish for our south Louisiana Cajun family, but a way to remember fondly this very special woman.

I first met Gretchen in the late 90s, not only because she was Harris’s sister, but because she was looking for a job and I was in a position to help. When I first moved to Lafayette, I wrote résumés. We hit it off right away. Gretchen had a wonderful sense of humor, was down to earth, friendly and smart. Two years later, Harris broke up with me, and it was a double blow. Not only did I miss Harris, but I lost Gretchen as well. For six years, both these remarkable people were gone from my life. After what I term Harris’s “period of insanity,” he sat one day with Gretchen and asked her if she thought he should try to find me. She said yes. Which took some doing because I’d moved 1700 miles away, but he did find me. And getting married to Harris and moving back to south Louisiana meant reconnecting with Gretchen, too.

It’s strange how something like a recipe for Indian-spiced chicken can wrap our memories around a wonderful and too-soon departed loved one. The reasons for loving these warm, rich flavors may have had different origins for us than they do for Michael, but I look forward to making it for him and my bunny, and expanding its comforting embrace around new members of the clan.

Butter Chicken Tikka Masala Ingredients

Butter Chicken  Ingredients

 

Butter Chicken Roasting the Chicken

Roasting the Chicken for Butter Chicken

Because we’ve become fans of Indian food, we recently took our other darling daughter to Bay Leaf restaurant in Baton Rouge, and I had a Kachumber Salad. It was delicious and a fresh, crisp contrast to the spicy dishes we ordered. I’ve complemented the chicken with this side dish. Traditionally the menu would include basmati rice, though you could use cauliflower rice instead for a strictly paleo meal.

Kachumber Salad

Kachumber Salad

For music I’ve chosen music from past seasons of So You Think You Can Dance. Conveniently nestled between hockey and football seasons, there’s no major competition for me to watch my favorite show. And Harris has come to look forward to it, too. One of the things I love best about it, is that I discover lots of great music I might not hear otherwise. And paired with the unbelievable dancing, it’s the most uplifting and entertaining summer show on TV. Well … to me anyway. What’s your favorite summer show?

Butter Chicken Tikka Masala
Print
Butter Chicken
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 20 mins
 
A variant of chicken tikka masala, butter chicken is a gateway dish to those unfamiliar with the warm spicy flavors of Indian food. The techniques are simple and the complex, delicious results belie the easy preparation. The ingredient list seems long, but most of it is spice.
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 722 kcal
Ingredients
Chicken
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup yogurt or coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp gingerroot peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tbsp celery leaves minced, or minced cutting celery
Butter Sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter or almond butter
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes puréed in blender or food processor
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp gingerroot peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp celery leaves minced or minced cutting celery
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar or honey
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro minced
Instructions
  1. Chicken
    Butter Chicken Tikka Masala Ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread chicken into a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile make the butter sauce.
    Butter Chicken Roasting the Chicken
Butter Sauce
  1. In a Dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for five minutes. Add the cashew butter and stir until melted. Add tomatoes and everything else EXCEPT the cream, butter and cilantro. Bring to simmer, lower heat until just a few bubbles appear on the surface and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken and juices, cream and butter and simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve with rice (or cauliflower rice), garnished with cilantro.
Recipe Notes
Nutrition Facts
Butter Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 722 Calories from Fat 495
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 55g 85%
Saturated Fat 26g 130%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Cholesterol 227mg 76%
Sodium 1755mg 73%
Potassium 456mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 22g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 8g
Protein 40g 80%
Vitamin A 11%
Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 15%
Iron 31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Kachumber Salad
Print
Kachumber Salad
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
Crisp and crunchy, this Kachumber Salad is a bright contrast to spicy, rich main dishes.
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 24 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1/4 red onion diced
  • 1 serrano chili thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro minced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 lime juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together and serve.
Recipe Notes
Nutrition Facts
Kachumber Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 24 Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.03g 0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.04g
Sodium 5mg 0%
Potassium 231mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 12%
Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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