The past couple weeks have seen a steep decline in my motivation to cook every night.
We’ve been focusing so much on projects around the house, and I’ve been so exhausted, that when it comes to dinner time, I’m ready for ordering out burritos or pelmeni. Not that babies are known to run on schedule, but we’re looking at T minus 5 weeks at this point, so I know I can survive.
When I do feel like cooking, I’m making large batches of stews and curries that reheat well and will last us a couple of days. This particular dish, Indian butter chicken, is one that I first saw a couple months back in the New York Times Magazine. The description of the flavors and spices, all melding together in a large pot over the course of an hour, instantly appealed to me.
As the article describes, this dish is the General Tso’s of Indian food. It’s composition changes with time and with each cook, but the main elements are the same. You marinate chicken in a yogurt and spice infused sauce, then cook it down in a stew of butter, tomatoes, onions, and ginger.
Once you’ve got the ingredients in the pot, it’s easy to step back and relax. Since we lack any proper seating in our kitchen, I typically hoist myself up on the countertop in the corner, and kindly ask Jason to stir here and turn down the heat there. He’s also in charge of bringing over a wooden spoon with just a tiny taste of the sauce coming together throughout the cooking process. This is how we manage.
Relaxing got them best of me while making this dish, and I didn’t feel like jumping off my ledge to take any photos as the dish cooked, so you get just the finished product. Just add basmati rice or na’an, or both.
- 1½ cups full fat greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1½ tablespoons ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 2½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 3 lbs chicken thighs
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons ginger, minced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 medium size tomatoes, diced
- 2 red chiles, seeded and diced
- kosher salt to taste
- ⅔ cup chicken stock
- 1½ cup cream
- 1½ teaspoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons ground almonds
- ½ bunch cilantro leaves
- In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, and cumin. Add chicken to bowl and coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, melt butter and oil until it starts to foam. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add in garlic and ginger and cook until onions start to brown.
- Add cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chiles, and salt. Cook until chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add chicken and all marinade from bowl and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in stock, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Stir in cream and tomato paste and continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Check that chicken is cooked through, then remove from heat.
- Stir in almonds and garnish with cilantro before serving.
Recipe adapted from New York Times Magazine.