Butter chicken (murgh makhani)

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Serves 4

Butter chicken apparently started in the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi in the 1950s when leftover tandoori and tikka chicken was put into a rich tomato and buttery sauce. Now you find it in Indian restaurants all over the world. As it uses a tandoori oven it's not something you'll find in Indian homes, but you can do it in a red hot skillet or cast-iron pan.

12 medium chicken thighs, skinned and scored with a sharp knife
4-5tbsp vegetable oil

for the marinade

200g yoghurt
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
A piece of root ginger weighing about 30g, peeled and grated
two-thirds tsp chilli powder
half tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
half tsp garam masala
half tsp salt
half tbsp lime juice

for the makhani sauce

500g tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped, or a 400g can of tomatoes
half tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
half tsp paprika
half tsp garam masala
100g butter
40ml single cream
1tbsp chopped coriander
Salt and ground black pepper

Place the yoghurt in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients for the marinade, mix well with the chicken and leave overnight in a non-reactive covered bowl.

The following day pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Put the vegetable oil to a heavy roasting tin or ovenproof dish, add the pieces of chicken and cook for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.

Meanwhile put the tomatoes in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the fenugreek and paprika, season, bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Add the garam masala, butter, cream and coriander and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with boiled basmati rice or and Indian bread like puri, chapatti or naan.

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