Because it is Butter Chicken! (or Chicken Makhani)
Perhaps the first time I had Indian food was when one of my high school dorm-mate's parents made butter chicken for our hall. It was one of the best things I had ever tasted. While I occasionally make some kind of curry, I just use sauce from a jar. This is my first attempt at making Indian food from scratch and attempting to recreate that delicious butter chicken.

Spicy(ish) Butter Chicken!

Ingredients:

  • Medium White Onion - 1/2 Onion - Chopped
  • Shallots - 2 - Finely Chopped
  • Roasted Cashews (unsalted) - Finely Ground - 1/2 Cup
  • Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast - 2 lbs - Cubed
  • Heavy Cream - 2 Cups
  • Plain Yogurt - 1/2 Cup
  • Butter (unsalted) - 4 Tbsps (Half a Stick)
  • Tomato Puree - 2 Cups
  • Garam Masala - 4 Tsps
  • Chili Powder - 2 Tsps
  • Cayenne Pepper - 4 Tsps
  • Black Pepper - Several Pinches
  • Salt - Several Pinches
  • Garlic - Minced - 1 Tbsp
  • Ginger Paste - 1 Tbsp
  • Ground Cumin - 2 tsps
  • Bayleaf - 2 Leaves
  • Lemon Juice - 4 Tsps
  • Water - 1/2 Cup
  • Oil - Vegetable, Peanut, any cooking variety - A Tad or Two
  • Rice - Some rice, IDK man why you got so many questions???

Equipment:

  • Large Sauce Pan
  • Large Frying Pan or Wok
  • Rice Cooker or Small Pot
  • Blender or Food Processor
  • Cutting Board
  • Knives, Spoons, Spatulas, Measuring Cups
  • Stove

BONUS: Plaid beer to match your plaid knife

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Instructions:

Sauce:

  1. Add oil to pan and apply medium heat
  2. Add chopped onion and shallot
  3. Stir occasionally until translucent (~5 minutes)
  4. Add butter, lemon juice, minced garlic, ginger paste, 2 tsps garam masala, cumin, chili powder, cumin, and bay leaf

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"Wow this smells great" - KUBiAc, 2018

  1. Heat on medium for a couple of minutes (butter melted) with stirring
  2. Add tomato puree and head on medium for a couple minutes with stirring
  3. Reduce heat to low, add heavy cream and yogurt
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes with frequent stirring (to avoid curdling), season with salt and pepper (~1-2 tsp each, to taste)
  5. Turn off heat

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Chicken:

  1. Add oil to pan and apply medium heat
  2. Add chicken cubes and stir occasionally with tongs or spatula (use batches if pan is too small)
  3. Once cooked (~10 min) add 2 tsp garam masala and 4 tsp cayenne (less if you are a wimp) and stir
  4. Add several spoon-fulls of sauce and stir for a minute until reduced
  5. Add cooked chicken to sauce

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Finish:

  1. Add water and ground cashew too the mix

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  1. Simmer on low for ~10 minutes

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  1. Cook rice in rice cooker or pot

Bonus Sides!

Crispy Chick Peas and Seasoned Cauliflower were prepared according to the linked recipes. Note: cooking times were increased to get desired crispiness and tenderness, respectively. In addition, the remaining half onion from the butter chicken was added to the cauliflower.

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Results:

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  • This dish smelled amazing from the moment the spices were added to the simmered onions until its consumption.
  • The flavors are balanced with a nice warmth from the cayenne. This would be a great cold weather meal.
  • In all, this made my apartment smell great and was a delicious endeavor.

Future Work:

  • The chicken was a little tough and could have been cooked for a shorter period of time. It also should have been cooked in smaller batches to get more browning.Furthermore, I think the pieces of chicken I prepared were a little on the small side, and I think heartier chunks would be an improvement.
  • I thick a bright chutney as a side would make a great addition. I'd also like to make naan.
  • I think a little more garlic and masala could be used, as well as a little less cayenne for the faint of heart. The dish was not super spicy, but the cayenne bordered on overpowering the other flavors.

Citations:

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/45957/chicken-makhani-indian-butter-chicken/ (modified based on comments and whims of the chef...)