Butter Chicken (murg makhani)

One of the other recipes that I fell instantly in love with is butter chicken. It’s very simple and uses less ingredients than the lamb saag. You don’t need a live fire to cook the chicken, but it makes a difference if you have a grill or tandor. The purees are simple to make. I use a little smoothie machine and add some vegetable oil to make it easier. I usually make a cup at a time as it stores well for a day or two in the referigerator. I find that Indian feasts are easiest to make over a couple of days. I usually make four or five dishes plus naan.

1 T. garlic puree
1 T. ginger puree
3 oz. Greek yogurt
1 t. kashmiri chili, ground
1 t. garam masala
2 lbs. chicken thighs, cubed

Puree the yogurt wtih the garlic and ginger purees, then mix in the spices. Toss the cubed chicken thighs in the mixture, and marinate for at least one hour up to overnight. Next, make the sauce:

2 T. vegetable oil
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 bay leaf
1 can san marzano tomatoes
2 T. methi leaves

Heat the oil over high heat, and add the spices. Cook, stirring, until the cloves and the cinnamon swell. Add the tomatoes and methi, and stir to combine. Add a little salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick then puree until smooth.

Add the cream and mix well. At this point, the sauce is done. You can cool and refrigerate it, or finish the dish right away.

To finish, broil the chicken. You can use the oven or a live fire. I usually skewer the meat and cook it in the tandoor. When the meat is about half way cooked and hopefully lightly browned, add it to the hot sauce and simmer for about five minutes. Garnish with a little chopped cilantro.

Yum!

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About david@davidgingrass.com

David Gingrass is a food and beverage operations professional with a career spanning more than three decades. His fascination with and love for food, wine and entertaining allows him to view his work as both a vocation and an avocation. Gingrass graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York then cooked in the Bay Area for two years before landing a job at Wolfgang Puck’s original Spago Restaurant in West Hollywood. There he learned to make the signature breads and sausages that he became known for at Postrio and Hawthorne Lane. He was soon promoted to kitchen manager and managed the operational and expense control aspects of Puck’s iconic restaurant for the next four years. Gingrass returned to San Francisco in 1989 when Puck tapped him and his then-wife Anne to open Postrio, Puck’s third restaurant and his first outside of Los Angeles. Postrio opened to rave reviews and soon became the #1 popular Bay Area restaurant in the prestigious Zagat survey. Five and a half years later, the opportunity to open a restaurant of his own presented itself. Hawthorne Lane opened in 1995 and was a San Francisco dining institution for over twelve years, catering to the likes of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Mayor Willie Brown, James Carville, President Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton. He closed Hawthorne Lane at the end of its fifteen-year lease in 2009 to build a consulting practice for the hospitality industry, sharing his wealth of culinary and operational experiences with new and existing restaurants, assisting them to become successful and profitable.