Butter chicken (Murg makhani)

One of the most popular comfort dishes around, and so quick and easy to make.

Serves 4

500g boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and diced into 2cm chunks

 

For the marinade

1 tsp finely grated ginger

1 tsp finely grated garlic

1 tsp Tandoori masala 

2 tsp oil 

½ juice of lime

 

For the sauce

5 tbsp cashew nuts

250g fresh tomatoes 

Hot water, for blanching the tomatoes 

3–4 tsp ghee/butter/oil

2 dried bay leaves 

2 tsp finely grated ginger

2 tsp finely grated garlic

125g white or red onion, chopped 

1 tsp Tandoori masala 

½ tsp turmeric 

1 tsp garam masala 

1 tsp crushed seeds of green cardamom pods

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp salt  

2 tsp caster sugar 

200ml single cream

1 tsp kasturi methi (dried fenugreek leaves), plus extra to sprinkle on the top of the finished dish 

First make your marinade. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and marinate the chicken. It needs to marinate for at least half an hour, but if you can leave overnight in the fridge then the flavours will be even better.

 

Ground the cashews in a blender and set aside. 

 

Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and add boiling hot water to cover them. Leave them for a few minutes, remove with care and allow them to cool. It will now be much easier to peel their skins. Once the skin from each is removed, dice them and set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 220C Fan.

 

Take the marinated chicken and place onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for 10 minutes - until the chicken is tender and cooked through (cook for a little longer if still pink inside). Place the tray underneath a medium-hot grill and grill the chicken for 2–3 minutes. Remove from grill and leave the chicken to rest. 

 

For the sauce, heat the ghee (or butter or oil) in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the dried bay leaves, grated ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the roughly chopped onions and cook for about 4–5 minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes, mix together well and cook further for 2 minutes. Add all of the ground spices, chilli powder, salt, sugar and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the masala to cool down. Once cool, blend into a fine paste. 

 

Put the masala paste back on to the heat and add the cream and ground cashew nuts and stir together well. Cook over a low heat for 3 minutes. Add the cooked chicken pieces and the kasturi methi, stir, cover the pan with a lid and slow cook on a low heat for another 10 minutes. 

 

Leave, covered, to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle some of the kasturi methi over the top and serve the dish hot with jeera rice or any Indian flatbreads.

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