Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken – the celebratory, spice laced comfort dish that satisfies every single time. It’s quite possibly the most famous and popular Indian dish too. The ultimate Butter Chicken requires a perfect balance of creaminess, sweetness & heat. All levels need to sing together harmoniously to create a decadent dish that you want to stick your face in.

So this wasn’t a “passed down” recipe, it’s one I’ve spent a little time perfecting in my own kitchen. After much tweaking, recipe developing and eating, (I’d like to think) I’m now onto a winner!

Interestingly Butter Chicken is not a “home-style” dish – it was created relatively recently (in the 1970’s) in a restaurant in New Delhi as a way or dressing up unsold tandoori chicken. It was an instant hit and over time became the dish most synonymous with Indian food all over the world.

If you missed the live cookery class of me teaching this, but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. Also, if you have any dish suggestions for the next class which will be on 24th July, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you. In the meantime, happy cooking! x

Butter Chicken

Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Food processor (optional)
  • Pestle & Mortar (optional)
  • Heavy bottom pan

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 500 g skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • Juice of 1/4 lime/lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 2" ginger grated
  • 3/4 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder/mild paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil

For the Butter Masala:

  • 1 good tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves optional
  • 4 green cardamoms optional
  • 3 cms cinnamon stick/cassia bark optional
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder optional
  • 2 onions (approx 175g) finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 garlic cloves grated
  • 3" ginger grated
  • 8 tbsp tomato passata/blitzed plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp double concentrate tomato puree
  • 2 bird eye chillies 1 finely chopped & 1 halved vertically
  • 12 cashews soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, made into a thick smooth paste (using a food processor)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder/mild paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp double (heavy) cream
  • 3 good pinches kasuri methi/sun-dried fenugreek leaves

To Finish:

  • 1 black cardamom crushed into a powder (optional)
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • Handful fresh coriander finely chopped

Instructions
 

  • Turn your grill on at the maximum temperature. Place all "marinade" ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Ideally allow to marinade or 2-3 hours (overnight is best). Then, place the marinated chicken on a foil lined oven tray. Grill for 10-12 minutes or until just fully cooked (the chicken should be white all the way through with a slight char all over). Remove from grill and keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat the butter and allow to melt. Using a pestle & mortar, coarsely crush open the cloves and green cardamoms and add to the pan along with the nutmeg powder and cinnamon. Then, add the onion along with 1 tsp salt. Cook on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Now add the garlic and ginger and mix. Cook for 3-4 minutes until light golden in colour. Add the chillies and mix. Then gradually add the tomato passata and tomato puree. Now add the creamy cashew paste and mix well. Continue to cook for 3-4 minutes on a low/medium heat.
  • Add in half of the fresh coriander now. Then add the garam masala, coriander powder, Kashmiri chilli powder/paprika, turmeric, salt and sugar mix well. Add in 5-6 tbsp water and allow the spices to cook for 1-2 minutes. Now grind the the kasuri methi into a powder using your fingers and then add to the pan and mix.
  • Now add the cream and mix well. When you see the oil begin to separate from the masala paste, at the edges, add the grilled chicken as well as any juices on your grill tray.
  • Add ΒΌ cup (60ml) water and bring to boil (I like to deglaze the grill tray with water and use that for maximum flavour). Pop a lid on the pan and allow the chicken to absorb the flavour of the masala for 3-5 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Finish with black cardamom powder, lime and fresh coriander. Allow the butter chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before digging in. Serve with steamed basmati rice or hot and fresh naans!

Notes

If you are vegetarian, instead of chicken, use 225g paneer and 2 handfuls of peas. You do not need to marinate the paneer so you will not need the marination ingredients.
Using a good quality tomato passata and tomato puree makes a big difference in this dish!

Mutton Keema Conchiglioni


A spicy, carby Indo-Italian Mutton Keema Conchiglioni. It’s what you make and need after returning home from a 44km bike ride 🚲 . Truth be told, I made this dish up as I went along and I’m so happy I did. Oh and in true mashup desi/Indian style, I ate it with my hands and it hit the spot.

I also had no intention of sharing the recipe but when I popped a photo of my dinner up on Instagram (as you do), I had a LOT of followers messaging me for it. So I thought – hey if it’s what the people want then that is what the people shall get!

Conchiglioni are essentially pasta shells and I used the jumbo ones which work well as they catch all the lovely keema inside to create mini parcels of spicy deliciousness. If you can’t source them, you can of course use whatever pasta you like!

Mutton Keema Conchiglioni

Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 300 g Conchiglioni (jumbo pasta shells) or a pasta of your choice
  • 7-8 tbsp oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves crushed into a coarse powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2" piece of a cinnamon stick
  • 400 g minced mutton/lamb
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 large onion (180g) finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • 6 tbsp tomato passata
  • 2 tsp double concentrate tomato puree
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • 3/4-1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped

Instructions
 

  • To make the mutton keema:
  • Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the bay leaves, crushed cloves and cumin seeds.
  • Then add the mince along with the salt and garam masala. Mix well and cook on a medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until the mince has changed colour and is completely cooked.
  • Remove the cooked mince from the pan with a slotted spoon, draining the oil as much as possible – we will be cooking the masala in this oil.
  • Reheat the oil in the pan and add the diced onions as well as the garlic. If you feel like the pan is a looking a little dry, you can add a little more oil.
  • Add 1/2 tsp salt to the pan and cook on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Once you see the paste has turned light golden in colour add 3-4 tbsp water and continue to cook for 7-8 minutes on a low/medium heat until deep golden. If it ever catches, add a splash of water or a little more oil.
  • Now add the pasata and tomato puree as well as the chillies. Cook for a minute then reduce the heat.
  • At this point add the remaining salt and the sugar as well as all of the dry spices. Cook for 30 seconds or so. When you see the oil separate from the masala, add theΒ cooked keema and add about 30ml water (you can also use the pasta water if you are cooking simultaneously). Place a lid on the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes.

To make the pasta:

  • Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta . Stir occasionally and simmer on a moderate heat until the pasta is cooked (jumbo conchiglioni require about 15 minutes). Once cooked, drain immediately.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the keema as well as the fresh coriander and mix well. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly. Serve immediately!

Bengali Dal Pakoras

Yesterday’s live cookery class was a lot of fun. We headed over to the East of India and cooked up delicious Bengali style lentil pakoras.

Lentil pakoras are made all over India in a variety of ways. The types of lentil, spices and texture profiles are tweaked from region to region and they’re all absolutely delicious.

I made a couple of tweaks to the classic Bengali “Daler Bora” (sorry Bengalis – it’s the North Indian in me!) and hope you enjoy the recipe. If you are deep frying for the first time, have a look back at the live class as I broke down how to fry without fear! I also shared plenty of tips on how to ensure your pakoras are perfectly cooked on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside.

Do let me know how you get on with making these and how they turn out for you. Dipped into your favourite chutney or dipping sauce, they’re a hit with children and oldies alike!

Also, I am working on something *incredibly exciting*. I can’t say anything yet, however if you’re a spice lover and like the idea of mastering Indian cuisine you WILL want to sign up to my new exclusive mailing list. That way, you’ll be the first to know when I do make the grand reveal!

In the mean time, happy cooking! The next live is on 10th July! x

Bengali Lentil Pakoras

Servings 20 pakoras (approx)

Equipment

  • small wok or wide sauce pan
  • slotted spoon
  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup approx 165g masoor/split red lentils washed 3-4 times & soaked for 2 hours in water
  • 2 cms ginger grated
  • 1 large clove garlic grated
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 2 tsp whole coriander seeds coarsely crushed in a pestle and mortar (you can also use coriander powder)
  • 1/2 tsp amchur mango powder optional
  • 1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes according to taste
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small onion (90g) finely diced
  • Oil for deep frying sunflower/vegetable oils work well

Instructions
 

  • Soak the lentils in water for a couple of hours. Then rinse well and drain.
  • Measure 1/4 cup or 40-50mls of water and keep aside. Add the lentils to a blender along with half the amount of the water. Blend together. Then scrape down the sides of the blender jug and a little more water and blend again .You may need to repeat this once again.
  • Aim for the dal paste to be the consistency of a thick hummus. It can be a little grainy but should hold its form.You may need to adjust the water amount to achieve this so judge accordingly.
  • Heat oil in your pan (small wok work best) on low/medium heat.
  • Using a spatula, remove the lentil paste from the processor and add to a mixing bowl. Then add the ginger, chilli, salt, dry spices, fresh coriander and using your hand mix well. Finally, add the onions and mix again.
  • When the oil is hot, place 1 tablespoon of the batter into the oil. The pakora should come up to the top of the oil. Carefully shape and add more pakoras to the oil. Cook in small batched being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Use your slotted spoon to gently turn them over every 10 seconds or so. When you see them turn light golden in colour, increase your heat setting to high and cook until fully golden. (It should take about 5 minutes in total).
  • Remove from oil with a slotted spoon. Allow the oil to drain off the pakoras fully. Then place on kitchen paper. Lower the heat and allow the oil to cool sightly before you do the next batch. Repeat and enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce!

Notes

Tip!
When making the dal paste, if you do find you have added too much water in error and it is too wet, you can add a little gram flour and a pinch of salt to help thicken. You should be able to spoon the mixture into a roundel.