Auntie Stacey’s Butter Chicken

ButterChicken-PanOne of my favourite uses for boneless chicken is Butter Chicken. If done right, this dish can satisfy, comfort, inspire, delight and sting. It’s magical. Truly.

The secret to a dish like this is making it spicy and creamy enough to stand up to the fragrant nutty smelling jasmine rice it’s going to sit upon. When butter chicken and jasmine rice meet, my body and soul are nourished in a way I can’t quite describe.

It’s…

Magical.

So, for people who have never tried butter chicken (criminal!!), this is my version. Give it a go! 🙂

Auntie Stacey’s Butter Chicken: (Yields 8-10 servings)

JASMINE RICE:
1/2 C (per person) Jasmine rice
1/2 C Water (per portion per person) water
1/4 C Water (additional)

Place the jasmine rice in your cooking pot and run water over top up to three times to remove as much of the starch as possible (optional – sometimes I don’t even bother because I like starchy rice). With your hand, swish the rice around till the water goes cloudy, then drain it. Repeat this step two more times  before measuring out your cooking water.

With the rice and cooking water in the pot, heat the pot till the water starts to gently boil. At that point, drop the heat down to the lowest setting, lid the rice pot and set the timer for 15 minutes.

After the timer goes off, lift the lid and place a small wash cloth the opening of the pot and then replace the lid before moving the rice off the burner. Set the timer for a final five minutes. The cloth is used to absorb most of the remaining moisture so the rice doesn’t remain mushy, but rather finishes in an almost dry and fluffy state.

If the rice finishes before the butter chicken is made, it can stay in the pot off the burner till it’s needed for plating.

BUTTER CHICKEN:
20 oz Boneless chicken
6 C Water
2 Tbsp Chicken stock powder

Dissolve the chicken stock powder in hot water in a large pot on the stove. Add the chicken when the water comes to a boil. Cook the chicken until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees. Remove the meat and set aside to cool until the meat no longer lets off a visible steam so you can cube it into bite sizes or pull it apart by hand or in a large mixer using the paddle attachment. (The chicken can be made up to two days prior if timing is too tight to make it all in on go.)

1/2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1/4 C Fine diced yellow onion

Heat up your pan, and when hot, add the oil. Heat the butter until it foams up and then add the oil and heat through until a drop of water crackles when it hits the fats. Add the onion and saute until it becomes translucent.

Note: I don’t like the stench of garlic on our breath, but if you like it, feel free to add some in the pan when you cook your onions. I would think one minced clove would do the trick.

14 oz Tomato puree
1/2 C Diced tomatoes (or stewed from a jar)
1/2 Tsp Black pepper, freshly cracked
1/2 Tsp Sea salt
1 Bay leaf

Add these five ingredients to the pan and heat through while you mix all of the dry spices together in a small bowl. After that, start pulling the chicken apart in to bite size chunks.

1/2 Tsp Cayenne pepper (or more if you really like heat)
1/2 Tsp Ground coriander (or dried basil if coriander isn’t on hand)
1 Tsp Cumin
1 1/2 – 2 Tsp Garam Masala
1/4 Tsp Cardamom (found in Indian grocery stores)

Add the chicken to the pan and heat that up in the tomato sauce and then add the spices. After you add the spices, stir really well the evenly distribute the flavours.

1/2 C Thick yogurt (or fat sour cream)

Stir inthe dairy to the pan to turn the tomato sauce into a creamy base that coats all of the chicken. Keep stirring until it’s combined fully. At this point, taste the sauce before you can finish the dish with a bit of salt (if needed). Now is the time for the final taste tweaks!

Add some freshly parsley or cilantro leaves to give the final sauce and chicken another flavour, colour, and texture.

Plate your jasmine rice into large shallow dishes (something with a small wall would be fine), and top the rice with one or two heaping scoops of your butter chicken. Serve this with toasted flat or naan breads in case it’s too spicy for some.

Alt Plating Ideas: Steamed cauliflower for the warm naan, dry parsley for the cilantro (since only half of any given population like this herb), and mashed potatoes for the rice.