A delicious delight !!

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Murhg Makhani or Butter Chicken

Tandoori Style RestaurantButter chicken or murgh makhani is a classic Punjab recipe, that was probably developed during the Mughal Empire. There are Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Tibetan versions of the dish as well as more modern Anglo-Indian variations. According to a documentary by the Discovery Channel, butter chicken recipe was invented by a person working in the kitchen staff of a famous restaurant called Moti Mahal located in Daryaganj, the central region of Delhi. Called Murg Makhani in Hindi, Butter Chicken originated in the 1950s at the Moti Mahal restaurant in Old Delhi. Famed for its Tandoori Chicken, the cooks there used to recycle the leftover chicken juices in the marinade trays by adding butter and tomato. This sauce was then tossed around with the tandoor-cooked chicken pieces and presto – Butter Chicken was ready!

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  1. 1 kg chicken , washed, patted dry and cut into small pieces – you can use chicken with or without bones
  2. 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. salt
  5. oil/ Amul butter 

For marinade:

  1. 3/4 cup plain yogurt, strained/hung or use 1/2 cup Amul Dahi
  2. 1.5 teaspoons kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves
  3. 1 teaspoon turmeric/ haldi
  4. 1 teaspoon garam masala or tandoori masala (it is easily available in the market)
  5. 1.5 tablespoon oil  (any cooking oil )
  6. 1.5 tablespoon ginger paste
  7. 1.5  tablespoon garlic paste
  8. orange tandoori colour

Makhani Masala/ Sauce: around 2 cups

  1. 2.5 inch fresh ginger paste,
  2. 8-10 cloves of garlic paste, 
  3. 2-4 fresh green chili pepper, slit
  4. 4 tablespoon melted Amul butter
  5. 4 green cardamoms
  6. 1.5 – 2 inch cinnamon sticks
  7. 3 cloves
  8. 1 black cardamom
  9. 1 teaspoon methi/fenugreek seeds
  10. 3-3.5 cups tomato puree (4 medium sized tomatoes can be used to make home made puree)
  11. 1 tablespoon red chili powder 
  12. 10 almonds, soaked, peeled and made into a paste ( Cashew can be also used in place of almonds, though it will definitely make some difference in taste)
  13. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  14. 2 teaspoons kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
  15. 1/2 tablespoon sugar ( I sometimes use honey in place of sugar though)
  16. 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon heavy Amul cream

Preparation: Apply red chili powder, lemon juice and salt to the chicken and set aside for around 20 minutes. Combine strained yogurt, red chili powder, salt, ginger-garlic paste, rest of the lemon juice, garam masala powder and oil. Apply this marinade to the chicken and refrigerate for three to four hours(overnight works better). Put the chicken on  skewers and cook on a grill (non-stick) or a preheated oven  at 400°F,  for about 10 minutes while turning them over mid way. Cook until done. Do not overcook, as the chicken will dry out and get fibrous. Baste it with butter/oil a couple of times while cooking. (The chicken may be grilled on a cast iron pan/grill pan on the stove top  too. Heat the skillet/stove top grill pan and coat it with oil. Place the skewers and cook while turning them around and basting with oil and marinade until done, for about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside).

MAKHANI MASALA/ Sauce: Heat butter/ghee or oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add green cardamoms, black cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Sauté for a couple of minutes  or till they start to sizzle and get fragrant; add the methi/fenugrek seeds. When the methi seeds sizzle, add ginger paste and garlic paste, and the slit green chillies. Cook for five  to eight minutes; the water from the paste would have evaporated and the ginger garlic paste would have reduced in quantity. Add tomato puree, red chili powder, and salt.Cook at medium heat for about 15 – 20 minutes. The puree will reduce to a thick paste and the oil/ghee will separate from the sides of the pan. Add 2.5 cups of hot water to the pan (or if you want it less soupy and want the sauce to kind of coat the chicken pieces and have a little bit extra, add less water or simmer for longer time to achieve the preferred consistency as per your taste), add the almond/ cashew paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes; add sugar and crushed kasuri methi. Add cooked grilled chicken pieces. Stir well to combine – the chicken will be well coated with the sauce. Cover and simmer for eight to ten minutes; Lower the heat and add garam masala  and the heavy cream. Stir in the cream and simmer at low heat for about five more minutes.Garnish with freshly chopped Coriander and add a splash of cream before serving.

You can serve it with plain rice or plain roti or naan. Enjoy!!! 🙂