You can’t possibly beat takeaway curry!
Butter Chicken, in my opinion, is quite possibly the Holy Grail of curry. I personally don’t know anyone who doesn’t love it and it’s my standard order at any Indian Restaurant (slash takeaway). However, as with most things I love, there’s a story attached to my Butter Chicken. Don’t panic, it’s a happy story!
So, here’s something you may not have known about me. About a million years ago, all the way back in 2005, I lived in Dubai. The marvelous metropolis filled with a mixture of cultures, magical experiences and magnificent constructions. I went there with my fiancee at the time, firstborn‘s baby daddy, who had accepted a work opportunity there.
We joined a group of people there who had already been working on the first phase of the work project for a few months. These people were from Canada, the UK and Portugal as well as South Africa. The advantage of this was that we had a welcoming party who showed us around and introduced us to expat life in Dubai.
Aromas of a different world
One of the first restaurants we were taken to was right in the city, in one of the old shopping districts called Al Fahidi Souk. This section of town is basically a couple of street blocks lined with little shops where they sell anything from perfumes to fresh coconuts to “genuine artificial” Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton handbags. Afrikaans speaking Pakistani shop owners will give you a clue of just how popular this area is with the South African tourists (and expats).
When I close my eyes I can envision the busy streets, the neon lights everywhere, the din of voices all around, the warm stickiness of the air, many homeless cats and the spicy aroma of eastern restaurants and takeaways of all kinds. Whenever friends and loved ones came to visit us, I made sure that this was one of the stops on their itinerary.
I digress though… this restaurant was (is) called Karachi Darbar and although I know there was another one in Dubai, this was the one we went to quite often. In the Arab way, there was a section inside for women only, a section inside for men only and a family section outside on the patio.
The Butter Chicken was out of this world phenomenal and besides that, for about R15 at the time you got a meal that was enough for two, with rice and a salad and the most amazing butter naan you ever had.
You might be able to guess that ever since I fell totally in love with this Butter Chicken, it has been super difficult to find one that matches up. Maybe I never will, but, not one to give up I will keep trying! Every so often I try a different recipe to make it myself and this one came pretty darn close. What I love about it is how fast and simple it is AND the boys couldn’t get enough of it! The perfect balance of spice and aromatic.
Homemade Butter Chicken
- 2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger finely minced or grated
- 2-3 tsp crushed garlic
- 700 g skinless chicken breast (3-4) cut into chunks
- 170 g tomato paste
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder or paprika adjust to taste
- 1 tsp mustard powder or fenugreek
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup cream or plain yoghurt
Heat a large pan over med-high heat. Add the butter and onions and cook until lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes (you may add a little olive oil so that the butter doesn’t burn). Add ginger and garlic and let cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add the chicken, tomato paste, and spices. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
Lower the heat, then add the cream and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with hot, cooked Basmati rice and warm naan bread.
For the super health conscious, you can substitute butter for coconut oil and cream for plain yoghurt.
I wanted mine a little more saucy, so I added an extra 2 tablespoons of yoghurt with the cream which turned out very well.
Recipe sourced from https://gimmedelicious.com