How goes it? Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend?
Firstly, yes, (for the more loyal readers) the blog has changed, I’m trialling a new theme / layout. Very visual, love the homepage but I’d really like to hear what you think? Drop me a Facebook message / comment below and let me know on your thoughts. On to the usual stuff now:
This week I started craving a curry. I don’t usually like curry, in fact, I do my very best to avoid it. Whenever someone suggests we go out dinner, my response is normally “Sure, I’m game, so long as it’s not an Indian.” But once in a while, usually in winter, I have a massive craving of something rich and spice ridden, straight from the motherland… And after that one meal, I’m done. That’s it. I don’t want to hear / speak about curry again for a long time.
When it’s such a momentous event in my culinary calendar, a half-hearted curry just doesn’t cut it. So, this is what I whipped up. Butter chicken. Succulent, tender, fall apart chicken chunks in a smooth, rich, creamy, glossy buttery sauce… I think it’s pretty popular both in India and also closer to home, in London town. And what better way to serve it than with an option of fluffy home-made naan bread and rice. Not big on rice myself, especially white rice (in fact, I had to borrow a cup of white rice to make this!) but it works really well here.
Ingredients (serves 8):
- 800g chicken cubes – I used chicken breast as that’s what I had to hand, but would work equally well with a thigh or a mix.
- Chilli powder
- 5 Cloves
- 1 small stick of cinnamon
- 15 cashew nuts
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Lemon
- Ground coriander
- Cumin powder
- Garlic powder
- Ginger powder
- Low fat, natural yoghurt
- 500ml passata
- 1 medium onion
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh ginger
- 500ml vegetable stock
- Dry fenugreek leaves
- Garam masala
- Corn flour
- Double cream
- Fresh coriander
- 1 packet fast action dry yeast
- 380g strong white bread flour, and extra for dusting.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 170ml water
- 5 tablespoons yoghurt
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Marinade your chicken in the juice of one lemon, mixed with 1 teaspoon each of: salt, freshly ground pepper and chilli powder. Cover and leave in the fridge for one hour.
- Toast 5 cloves, 3 whole peppercorns (I took mine straight out my pepper grinder as I’d run out), 1 small stick of cinnamon, 2 bay leaves and your cashew nuts on a small dry pan. Shuffle regularly until your nuts start getting some colour on them and the spices are fragrant.
- Blend the above in a food processor or with a pestle and mortar. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ginger powder and garlic powder and 1 teaspoon cumin powder and coriander powder. Mix well.
- Add the above to around 8 heaped tablespoons of yoghurt and mix well. Add to chicken and leave to marinade for another hour or two. Or if you can, over night.
- Tap off excess marinade and either fry off the chicken in a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan in batches, or place the lot in a single layer on a baking tray and cook in the oven. Set aside on a plate.
- In another pan sweat off a finely diced onion in a saucepan. Once softened, add a teaspoon each of fresh minced garlic and finely chopped ginger. Stir through until fragrant and then add in your passata, vegetable stock, the remaining yoghurt spice marinade, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Trust me.
- Cook the sauce until it halves in volume on a medium heat, stirring regularly, then add in a tablespoon of garam masala and two tablespoons of dried fenugreek leaves. Stir through and leave to simmer for ten mins.
- Meanwhile, start on your naan bread dough. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. In a measuring jug, stir together the water, yoghurt and olive oil.
- Create a well in the centre of your bowl and slowly pour in your wet mix. Slowly incorporate it all together with a spoon then get stuck in with your hands and knead for 5-10mins until smooth. Feel free to add a little extra water or flour if need be. You’re looking for a fairly wet and soft consistency.
- Roll into a ball, generously coat in olive oil and leave to rest for an hour to an hour and a half until doubled in size.
- To make the naan, split the dough into 8 evenly sized balls. Heat a non stick frying pan on a medium high heat. Take one, and dip it in some flour. Use your hands to make small oval shapes by pulling and prodding. I’d recommend not using a rolling-pin as flattens the dough evenly, and you want those bumps and troughs.
- Place your naan dough straight onto the hot frying pan – no need for oil. Once you start to see bubbles forming on the top, it’s time to flip. Turn and cook for a further minute or two.
- Spread a knob of butter over the top, and sprinkle with nigella seeds if you have any, (I didn’t) slice the first one in half and wolf it down (chef’s treat) and repeat with remaining dough balls.
- Back to the curry – add your chicken to the sauce, alongside around 65ml of double cream. Heat through for around 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if need be.
- Depending on the the consistency of the curry you may need to add a little corn flour to thicken it up – simply mix one heaped tablespoon of corn flour to a little hot water, mix with a fork to remove any clumps, and stir in.
- Finally add around 70g of butter. 100g if you’re feeling particularly generous. It’s not called butter chicken for nothing.
- To serve plate up your curry in a bowl, drizzle over a little double cream and toss in a few sprigs of fresh coriander. Arrange naan bread and rice (I presume I don’t need to provide a recipe for boiling rice in some slightly salted water…)around the sides and dig right in!
A lot of work – it’s a labour of love but you won’t care once you scoop some of that delicious sauce in a warm buttery naan and shovel it into your face. Promise.