Butter Chicken

Spice Blend:

1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (more or less depending on how hot you want it)


3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons jarred minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 skinless rotisserie chicken, boned out and pulled into 1 1/2 by 1/2-inch chunks
1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas, placed in a colander and run under hot water to thaw
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Hot basmati rice, for serving
Pita bread, warmed according to package directions, for serving

To make the spice blend: Stir the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the pieces just begin to turn gold, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste and spice blend, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. The spices will be fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir will. Add the chicken pieces, spoon the sauce over the top and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce is flavorful, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove the chicken to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.

Shake any excess water from the peas. Add the peas and cream to the sauce in the pan, stir well and heat through. Do not boil. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve with the rice.

Butter Chicken is quite possibly my favorite type of Indian food, with the exception of Coconut Laddoo. It’s creamy and the flavors just blend together so nicely. The benefit of making the butter sauce yourself is that you can control how much heat you put into it. I don’t like the heat that comes from Cayenne so I tend to use less of that, but then I add some Thai Sweet Chili sauce to my rice, so go figure.

(Photo courtesy of Spicelines.com)

To make your own Garam Masala

1.5 Tbs black peppercorns
3/4 Tbs black cumin seeds (kala jeera)
1.5 tsp whole cloves
4 large brown caradmon pods (substitute some green pods if you don’t have brown)
2 inch stick of cinnamon
1/2 a whole nutmeg
2 star anise

Gently roast all spices and grind everything to a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder. Store in a tightly lidded small jar.


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