Chicken marinated in yogurt and Indian spices is roasted, deboned and braised in a sauce made with tomatoes, cream and butter. Read about its history.Inspired by the butter chicken at Al Reem, a restaurant in Chiang Mai that serves South Asian and Middle Eastern food, our version uses meat from drumsticks and thighs. Right, we're not fans of chicken breast meat at home.Then, to reproduce the entire Al Reem experience for her father, we had the butter chicken with paratha, that delightful Indian flatbread, which we tore and used to scoop the lovely sauce. And, to help us digest the rich dish, there was Thai tea.
- 800 grams chicken thighs and drumsticks
- ¾ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger with the juice
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon oil (we use plam oil at home)
For the sauce
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (canned is okay)
- 1 ½ cups cream
- salt to taste
- sugar to taste
To garnish and serve
- paratha or rice
Cook the chicken
- Place all the ingredients in the section "tandoori chicken" in a bowl, mix well, cover and allow to marinate for at least eight hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Line a tray with foil or non-stick paper and position a rack on top.
- Arrange the chicken on the rack, at least an inch apart, and roast for 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of each piece.
- Take the chicken out of the oven and allow to cool slightly. Reserve the pan juices.
Braise the deboned chicken in the sauce
- Melt the butter in a pan.
- Over low heat, sweat the chopped onion and, when the moisture has evaporated, continue cooking until browned along the edges. This takes about 10 minutes with occasional stirring.
- Meanwhile, debone the chicken and chop the meat into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, cream and pan juices to the onion in the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the chicken and allow to simmer (don't boil because the cream will curdle!) for about five minutes.
- Taste the sauce. Add salt and sugar, as needed (see notes after the recipe).
- Transfer the butter chicken to a serving bowl and top with cilantro. Serve with rice or paratha.
The spices and seasonings in the chicken and pan juices will get transferred to the sauce so taste before adding salt and sugar, and add only as much as needed to create a good balance of flavor.