March 1, 2012

Jimmy's Butter Chicken

There was a time, when ancient gods roamed the Earth, that I would get completely caught up in MasterChef. I think my end to MasterChef obsession came when Marion was eliminated with her satay sauce. These days I do follow, but I am not so invested in who I want to win and who cooked the best dish. I am however, very interested in the recipes that are published because of this series, and the learning and ideas that they generate for me.

A colleague of mine was also an avid MasterChef watcher. He came to work with a massive amount of excitement and said that he had cooked Jimmy's butter chicken and it had shifted the ground. I would NEVER eat take away butter chicken EVER AGAIN!!!

This was big.

Jimmy Seervai was a contestant on MasterChef (2010), and his focus on Indian food and spices was intent. Watching him I think he found it difficult to move out of the Indian food zone, because he had already truly found his passion. He cooks Indian...and he cooks it very well.

So Jimmy's butter chicken became a "must try" recipe for me.

Butter Chicken
(From Masterchef Australia - Jimmy Seervai www.masterchef.com.au/)

Serves 6

Ingredients
Tandoori Chicken
600g chicken thigh fillets, cut in three
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon garlic paste, minced on microplane
1 teaspoon ginger paste, minced on microplane
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Butter sauce
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger paste
½ green chilli, finely chopped
3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2g blade mace
2 tablespoons cashew paste
600g vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
50ml tomato puree
1 cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
50g unsalted butter
50g unsalted butter
Green chillies, fresh coriander and cream for garnishing

Method
For tandoori chicken, add all ingredients for marinade except oil to a bowl and mix well. Coat chicken with marinade and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven grill, and place chicken on the grill rack, with a tray underneath to collect the drippings. Grill for 8-10 minutes, brush with oil, turn chicken over and grill for another 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Keep aside.

For butter sauce, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add onion and cook until translucent. Add ginger paste, green chillies, cardamom, mace and cashew paste and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and salt and simmer, stirring, occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Once cool, blend to a puree to make a smooth sauce. Strain through a sieve. Return sauce to pan and cook over low heat. Add the honey, followed by the tandoori chicken and drippings. Stir and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Sprinkle over garam masala, Kashmiri chilli powder and dried fenugreek leaves. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Finally stir in cream and take off heat. Garnish with green chillies, fresh coriander and cream. Serve with rice or naan bread.

Here is the direct link to the Butter Chicken recipe from the MasterChef Australia website.

It looks complex, but really it is not as difficult as it looks. And the results are a revelation. Take away Indian food has really done the cuisine a dis-service which you don't realise until you start cooking "real" Indian food.

Cooking the tandoori chicken...
Marinating Tandoori Chicken


Grilling Chicken


Tandoori Chicken


Making the butter sauce...
Making the Butter Sauce


Blended Butter Sauce


The finished dish...
Finished Butter Chicken


Served with Naan bread and Pappadums...
Butter Chicken with Naan bread and Pappadums


This recipe makes an absolutely delicious dinner. Be prepared to spend some time on it, but it really is worth the effort.

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