We tried to go for Indian food in Nanaimo yesterday but the restaurant we were going to (Tandoori Junction) closes between lunch and dinner and with the ferry schedule as it is these days, we just can’t get there in time or wait around for them to open for dinner. So…got to make my own. Here’s my take on Butter Chicken. I added coconut milk and spicy chillies. Butter Chicken usually isn’t too spicy but I grew some chillies this year and figured, ‘Why not?’.
So here’s my recipe.
Spicy Chicken Coconut Curry, Serves 4 Print
This time I decided to spice it up and add some coconut so it’s definitely not a traditional butter chicken recipe. Serve it over rice for a gluten free meal. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making ghee (butter melted down and milk solids skimmed off), you can use a combo of coconut oil and butter. This works quite well and adds another layer of coconut taste to the dish. The coconut oil has a higher smoke point than butter and helps prevent it from burning. You can marinate the chicken in yogurt or kefir for a few hours if you like. Usually butter chicken recipes require this. Throw some Garam Masala in the yogurt too. It just adds to the flavour. The yogurt adds a bit of creaminess as well.
2 tablespoons Ghee, see directions below
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 -inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 jars or cans tomato sauce, 15 oz
1 to 2 tablespoons Garam Masala , available in most super markets or make your own, see below
1 cinnamon stick
2 small hot red chilles, fresh preferably or dried (more if you really like HOT!)
Celtic or Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ cups chicken stock (organic or home made)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 lemon, juiced
How to make Ghee:
Put the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter slowly and make sure it does not sizzle or brown. Increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is covered with foam, stir gently and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Gently simmer, uncovered, and undisturbed for 45 minutes, until the milk solids in the bottom of the pan have turned golden brown and the butter on top is transparent. Strain the ghee through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. The ghee should be perfectly clear and smell nutty; pour into a glass jar and seal tightly.
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 dried red chilles, broken in pieces, seeds discarded
2 tablespoons turmeric
Toast the coriander, cumin, cardamom, peppercorns, fennel, mustard, cloves, and the chilles in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat just until they smell fragrant, about 2 minutes. In a clean coffee grinder, spice mill or mortar and pestle, grind the toasted spices together to a fine powder. Add the turmeric and give it another quick buzz to combine. Use the curry powder immediately, or store in a sealed jar for up to 1 month.
Makes about 1/2 cup
Heat the ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic and cook slowly until the onions are very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, Garam Masala, cinnamon stick, and chilles and give it a good stir; season with salt and pepper. Pour in the coconut milk, tomato sauce and chicken stock and bring it back to a simmer; simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes or up to an hour. Add the chicken, cilantro, and half the lemon juice; continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro and serve over Basamati rice.
This is traditionally served with a bread as well like Garlic Naan but if you want gluten free stick with the rice.