Butter Chicken Curry

A good curry takes time to make from scratch but you can make some short cuts. My version of a butter chicken recipe has taken quite a few attempts at getting the flavour and texture I want from a curry. It also has to be okay for the kids to eat as well – not too spicy.

I think we are not alone when I say sometimes it is just easier to get your curry from the local Indian takeaway, and we do when we want a sample of a couple of different curries. However, we tend to eat curry at least once a week and it gets expensive if you eat takeaways that often. My wife and have always loved curry! We went on holiday to Goa just so we could have a great excuse to eat curry for breakfast, dinner and lunch. It was amazing! That’s why it is so important that when we do have homemade curry, it must tastes authentic. The trick to this? Make sure you buy a good Garam Masala spice mix. You can make it yourself but buying it is one of those short cuts. Also, don’t use cheap tin tomatoes – just like making Italian pasta sauces, tomatoes are just too important to get wrong.

Serves – 4 to 6

Prep –  10-15 mins

Cooking Time – 35 mins

Recipe

3 large onions

2 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp ginger

1 tbsp of tomato puree

1 tsp powdered garlic or 3 cloves garlic

1 tsp paprika

1 tin of good quality chopped tomatoes or passata

30g butter minimum ( I some times add a bit for for a creamier taste)

salt and pepper

Chilli powder if you like it a bit spicy

150 ml of water

3-4 chicken breasts

Method 

  1. Dice the onions and sautee until transculent in some olive oil. Be sure to salt the onions as it helps draw the moisture out.
  2. Add the garam masala to the pan and cook the spices out on a low heat for a few minutes.
  3. Once the spice has cooked out the onions will take a beautiful dark colour. At this point add the tomato puree and cook out for another two minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the spices and a little splash of water or chicken stock.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and the water. Let the pan simmer for about 15 mins until it has reduced by a third.
  6. Use a food blender to blend the sauce until it is smooth
  7. Strain the sauce through a sieve. This will make the sauce really silky and without the lumps. You don’t have to do this but I think it makes the sauce better.
  8. Chop and cook the chicken with some oil. Be sure to season the chicken with salt and pepper. It makes the difference. You can add some extra flavour to the chicken by making the sauce the day before and marinating the chicken over night.  The chicken takes about 8 mins to cook in a saucepan.
  9. Add the sauce to the chicken and bring to a simmer. Add the butter and continuously stir until it dissolves into the curry.
  10. Serve with basmati rice, yoghurt dip or mango chutney and flatbreads.

Check out the recipes for the sides:

Flatbread recipe

Yoghurt dip recipe

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Spice Friendly Lamb Curry

 

Spice Friendly Lamb Curry

I was so excited when I created ‘My Curry’ that I could not contain myself. Having been in curried exile for 3 months due to not being able to have chillies or pepper of any sort, I had all but given up the hope of having a regular curry. I knew that I could have ginger and cooked onions but I had never used the magic ingredient of this recipe. Tamarind. I spotted it on a weekly trip to the supermarket. It was on offer and the picture of it looked similar to ginger, so I thought why not! I am going to give it a try and hope not to be in agony after trying it. After a tentative tasting experience and waiting for the inevitable, awful reaction in my throat, I was pleasantly surprised that I could actually have it. I knew then that some fashion of a curry was possible. Ecstasy achieved.

I tend to buy my curries from the usual places, takeaway or in jar, or on the one life changing experience in Goa, India. My experience of cooking curry from scratch was limited, however, I was not going to let that stop me in my quest to eat curry once more.

I was not disappointed – it’s mild with a hint of a spice kick from the ginger and tamarind and definitely fulfills my curry culinary needs. How easy is it to make? Simple….

Ingredients

Lamb Steaks cut into cubes/strips- I love lamb curry and it has a good meaty flavour for this curry, which means it stands up to the intense ginger and tamarind. You can use chicken or turkey if you want to go leaner. I haven’t tried fish yet but I will let you know if I do.

Tamarind Sauce/Paste – You don’t need much. I like a strong flavour so added probably more than I should at two table spoons. ‘Tip and Taste’ is my motto when it comes to cooking.

Ginger – Same again, I like it a lot but you can use less. Cooking should be creative in my mind.

Chives or Garlic – A good tablespoon of chives or 3 cloves of garlic.

Cornflour – To thicken.

Turmeric/Cumin/Coriander are added if you want some more aromatic spices. I can’t use much unfortunately but you can if you want.

5 -6 Large Chestnut Mushrooms – Sliced thickly.

1 medium sized onion – Sliced not diced.

Chicken stock cube with 500ml of water.

Low fat cream cheese (branded philadelphia is better for this – light or lightest)

Optional – Steamed Curly Kale or Spinach.

Method

To start, I put some rapeseed oil into a medium heat frying pan and add the mushrooms and onions until they are softened. Add the chives/garlic and aromatic spices here as well.

Then add the meat and ginger. When they have ‘browned’ I add the cornflour (about a tablespoon) and let this soak the oil and juices up.

Add the stock water and let it simmer until it thickens. You can add more water and let it simmer down again – I think this intensifies the taste.

Now add the tamarind sauce and simmer again for a few minutes until it has come together.

Finally, add the couple of spoons of the cream cheese – this will give it the creamy texture of a korma. You could add a yoghurt instead if you prefer.

I like to add Curly Kale or Spinach to make it interesting and some raisins, although if you don’t have or like these don’t worry about it.

I have since done some research on this recipe and apparently some curries are made like this in the Kerala region of India, called Inji Curry. It is not quite ,but I think close enough, to be called an authentic curry. The joy is now in the eating! Let me know what you think.