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Anjum Anand’s Classic Butter Chicken: Recipe

The Spice Tailor Anjum Anand Classic Butter Chicken Recipe. Image supplied

Want to learn how to make an authentic butter chicken curry from scratch? Now you can.

As the nights are getting colder and we approach the peak of the winter season, we’re in search of new and delicious winter warmers to not only warm up our stomachs, but also to create a tantalising aroma that wafts effortlessly around the home, making every dinner a delightful occasion.

Cue The Spice Tailor. Created by British food writer and Indian chef, Anjum Anand, The Spice Tailor provide a range of Indian-inspired meal kits that create quick, easy and healthy meals that are free from any artificial additives. And, more importantly, they taste just as bewitching as any take-away or jarred-sauce creation.

So, to help your search for the next best winter recipe to add to your collection, Anjum Anand has provided us with her recipe behind the Classic Butter Chicken curry.


Cooking time: 1 hour + marinating overnight | Difficulty: Hard | Servings: 4


INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CHICKEN:

6 skinned, bone-in chicken joints
Slice of unsalted butter, melted
Paprika or Kashmiri chilli powder

FOR THE MARINADE:

2½ tbsp lemon juice
1 rounded tsp salt
120g full-fat plain yoghurt
4 large garlic cloves
1 Indian green finger chilli deseeded
15g roughly chopped root ginger (peeled weight)
1½ – 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika (for colour)
1 rounded tsp ground cumin
1 rounded tsp garam masala
2 tbsp vegetable oil   

FOR THE BUTTER CHICKEN:

20g finely grated root ginger (peeled weight)
8 large garlic cloves
2 tbsp vegetable oil
80g unsalted butter, plus more if needed
1 bay leaf
2 black cardamom pods
6 green cardamom pods
2cm cinnamon stick
4 cloves
600g vine tomatoes, blended to a fine puree
3 – 4 small green chillies, stalks removed, pierced with a knife
Salt
1 tsp sugar, or to taste (depends on the sweetness of the tomatoes)
¼ – ½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, finely crushed with your fingers
1 rounded tsp garam masala
80mL – 100mL light cream, to taste

METHOD

FOR THE TANDOORI-STYLE CHICKEN PIECES:

1. Slash each piece of chicken three times down to the bone at the thickest parts of the flesh. If time permits, place in a bowl and marinate in about half the lemon juice and half the salt for 30 minutes. 

2. Blend together all the ingredients for the marinade until smooth (plus the extra lemon and salt if you didn’t marinate as above). Add to the chicken, cover and and leave to marinate in the fridge for as long as possible – preferably overnight but for at least 3 – 4 hours. 

3. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes or so before cooking. Preheat the barbecue to a medium-high heat. Alternatively, for indoor cooking, preheat your oven grill (broiler) to a fan-assisted high setting and line a baking sheet with foil.

4. Place the chicken on the barbecue and cook. Turn the chicken often and move it around to prevent burning and hot spots. Cook for 18 minutes or until charred. If using an indoor grill, place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet under the grill, and grill until charred on both sides and cooked through; it should take the same amount of time. If it is cooked but not very brown, move closer to the grill bars for a few minutes at the end of cooking time. 

5. Baste with the butter – mixed with the paprika or Kashmiri chilli powder. 

FOR THE BUTTER CHICKEN:

1. Using a blender, blend together the ginger and garlic using a little water to help the blades turn. 

2. Heat the oil and half the butter in a large non-stick saucepan over a medium-high heat, then add the whole spices. Once they have sizzled for 15 seconds, add the ginger and garlic paste and cook until all the moisture has evaporated and the garlic smells cooked and looks grainy. Add the tomatoes and cook down until the resulting paste releases oil for around 20 minutes. 

3. Now you need to brown this paste over a gentle heat, stirring often, until it darkens considerably. This should take 6 – 8 minutes. Add 250mL water, bring to the boil, then pass through a sieve, trying to extract as much liquid and flavour from the tomatoes and spices as you can. Discard the very few, very dry solids. Set the sauce aside. 

4. Cut or peel large chunks off the chicken pieces and reserve with any juices and charring that are still on the cooking foil. 

5. Heat the remaining butter. Throw in the green chillies and cook for 1 minute. Add the sauce, salt and a good splash of water and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes. Add the chicken, with any juices and charring from the foil. Add the sugar, chilli powder, paprika, fenugreek and garam masala. Simmer, stirring often, for 3 – 4 minutes, adding a little water if it is too thick. It should be lightly creamy.

6. Finally, take off the heat and stir in the cream, then taste and adjust the salt, sugar, cream or butter to taste as you need. 

7. Serve with rice, naan bread or your chosen curry accompaniments.


If you’d rather let Anjum Anand do all the hard work for you, head over to The Spice Tailor website to search through their exquisite range of Asian to Indian meal kits.

Want to try out more wintery recipes? Try the iconic fried cauliflower recipe from Melbourne restaurant Bekka, or deep dive into a whole world of cooking with our list of the top 11 digital recipe books to download now.

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