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Butter chicken curry recipe (Murgh Makhani)

Butter Chicken is a popular Indian dish from Punjab, and it is now appreciated around the globe. The history of this curry and the worldwide popularity of butter chicken is believed to have begun accidentally at a famous restaurant in Delhi, although many think this recipe is older than a 1000 years old. The general idea of the recipe for butter chicken is well known but depending who makes it, the outcome will vary considerably from one cook to another, even within India... Butter chicken is usually sided with indian flat-breads such as naan and parathas or even black lentils (Kaali Daal). This dish is not a variant of the chicken Tikka masala, which has a similar color but is a completely different dish.

Ingredients (for four persons):

- 3 lb. boneless chicken breasts, or equivalent boneless thighs
- 4 tablespoons ghee or butter
- 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves, (40 g)
- 1 or 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, minced
- 2 cloves garlic,
- 5 cardamom pods, all the seeds from them
- 3 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 dried red hot pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (30 ml)
- 1/3 cup ground almonds (25 g)
- 1 cup of canned tomatoes (250 g)
- 1 cup plain yogurt 2% (250 g)
- 1/2 cup 15% or half-half cream (120 ml)
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1 1/3 cup of rice (240 g)


1) Using your favorite heavy bottomed frying pan (with tight fitting lid), melt the ghee (or butter) then immediately fry the onion for 3 minutes over medium-high setting. Mix in the following ingredients: ginger, the cinnamon, cardamom pods, turmeric, red pepper and press the garlic in. Fry this mixture for one minute, constantly mixing, then pour in the canned tomatoes and mix.

2) Add chicken, previously cut into bite size chunks, and cook everything until the chicken almost done and the tomatoes have melted or a few minutes. Mix in the tomato paste and almonds then stir until you have a smooth and uniform gravy; add more tomato paste if the sauce is still very liquid. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until chicken completely cooked, 15 minutes.

3) Reduce heat setting. In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the cream; pour this to our frying pan at the very end of cooking and simmer, stirring constantly, a few minutes being very careful not to make the gravy boil. Season with salt to taste and take the cardamom pods out before serving.

4) Garnish each plate with cilantro, if desired, and serve over a bed of steamed, or basmati rice.