Many of you must have been wondering – Priyanka is of Indian background, so where the heck are all the Indian recipes??? Sorry for the delay on this guys, but fret not! Here is my first (and definitely not my last) Indian recipe to be on the blog, and what better way to share one of my interpretations of the traditional butter chicken!
I add in blanched spinach into this recipe which gives it the beautiful green color, and also makes this dish a LITTLE healthier than the traditional dish ;-). Traditional butter chicken also calls for boneless chicken pieces, but I prefer whole pieces of bone-in thigh pieces for added flavor. I also think it is easier to serve when you are entertaining – how easy is it to serve one thigh per person (to start, of course), rather than a curry with small, chopped pieces of chicken breast or chopped boneless thigh?
The dark thigh meat is the perfect combination with the tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, spinach, and cream. By the end of your cooking time, your kitchen will be filled with aromas that will make your entire family hungry instantly!
For those of you that are looking for a more traditional butter chicken, omit the spinach, increase the amount of butter by about 2x, and you will have an amazing traditional butter chicken in your pot. 🙂 Served best with hot naan and rice!
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons tandoori masala powder
Approximately 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs (7-8 thighs)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced (or ginger powder)
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup tomato sauce (or 1 cup of fresh blended tomatoes)
1 cup baby spinach, rinsed and blanched
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt, to taste
Garnish: toasted, sliced almonds & chopped cilantro (if desired)
Stir the buttermilk, tandoori masala powder, lemon juice, and ginger together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined; add the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour. Drain and discard any excess marinade.
Puree the onion and garlic with the water and 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a blender until it forms a smooth paste; set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken in the hot oil until lightly browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons in the skillet. Fry the onion paste in the hot oil until the moisture is mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Now add the garam masala and chili powder over the mixture; cook 1 minute more until fragrant.
Blend fresh tomatoes (or tomato sauce) and blanched spinach in blender and pour the mixture into the skillet to cook. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook another 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan; bring to a boil. Add the butter, heavy whipping cream, and salt; reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until the chicken pieces are no longer pink in the middle and cooked through, 30-40 minutes.
Taste before serving, and add additional lemon juice or salt, to your taste. Garnish with sliced almonds and chopped cilantro. Serve hot!