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Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)
serves 4

2 lbs chicken (skinned quarters) or boneless pieces (tikkas)
4-5 tablespoons oil

2 cups plain yogurt
6 garlic cloves
1/2 inch square of fresh ginger, peeled
2/3 teaspoon red chile powder or paprika
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
a tiny pinch of tandoori coloring (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon oil

1 1/2 lbs roma tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fennugreek leaves)
3 oz chilled butter
1/2 teaspooon cayenne pepper or paprika
few drops vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 1/2 oz heavy cream

Place the yogurt in a piece of cheesecloth and leave to hang to
allow the whey to drip away. Puree the garlic and ginger in a
blender. Add this and the marinade spices, salt and lime juice to
the yogurt and mix well.

Scald the tomatoes for the mahkani sauce and peel off the skin.
reduce to a semi-pulp with a fork or a potato masher. Put the
kasuri methi into a grinder and reduce to a powder.

Make gashes in the chicken if using pieces on the bone. Marinate
the chickeen in the yogurt mixture for at least 1 hour, preferably
2; for best results leave overnight.

When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large, thick-bottomed skillet
and put in the chicken with the marinade. Cover and cook over a
low heat until done. Turn the chicken over during cooking.

Put the tomato pulp into a frying pan and cook for 5 minutes or so
until the liquid has evaporated slightly.

Add the chilled butter and paprika; after the butter has melted,
let it cook for just 1 minute. taste. If it has no sourness, add
a few drops of vinegar. Add the kasuri methi and garam masala
powder and salt to taste. After 30 seconds, add the cream and
stir. the sauce is now ready. Pour it into the skillet and mix
well with the chicken. Serve immediately.

Notes: If butter is cooked for as long as 3 minutes it will turn
into ghee and become a grainy emulsion. So start with chilled
butter and cook for less than 2 minutes after the butter has melted.

You can cook the chicken ahead of time. But makhani sauce takes
only 5-6 minutes to prepare and should be made when the dish is to
be eaten. You can cook the tomato ahead, but add the butter just
before serving.

In india, restauranteurs mix a little raw papaya puree into the
marinade as a tenderizer.

Kasuri methi or dried fennugreek leaves are available in indian
grocery shops.


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