Spicy “Indian Butter” Curry Chicken

curry, Indian butter, chicken recipe

I consider myself a pretty adventurous eater. It’s a little embarrassing that it took a work trip to Great Falls, Montana for me to discover “butter chicken.”  I didn’t even know what it was. When the lunch counter worker told me this was her favorite thing on the menu, I said “dish it up” and thought I was likely getting something southern and literally smothered in butter. Instead, I get this amazing, spicy Indian curry dish that has become my new obsession. Needless to say that when I got home the search began for a recipe. I settled on using the New York Times as my inspiration. I will be making this again and again and again.

Hint: This recipe makes a good sized batch and is designed for the leftovers that are phenomenal. Pour whatever is left of the curry over rice and just warm in the oven the next day. The curry infused rice takes it to another level. 

Indian Curry “Butter” Chicken Recipe

Ingredient List
  • 1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt (I like Oikos)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled is fine)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter
  • 1 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 medium-size tomatoes, chopped (or one can fire roasted tomatoes if fresh are looking tasteless)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper with seeds (we like it hot and used pickled jalapeños with seeds)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 ½ “original” almond milk (I might try coconut milk next time)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Your favorite rice cooked according to directions

Start the night before or first thing in the morning…

Step 1: In a large bowl (enough for the chicken to comfortably fit), whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin. Coat each piece of chicken with the yogurt mix and set in bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for minimum 6 hours or maximum 1 day.

About 1 1/2 hours before dinner time…

Step 2: In a large deep skillet that will hold all chicken pieces without stacking them (I used my cast iron) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add chopped onions, and cook, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin, and cook another 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, jalapeños and salt. Add chicken chicken pieces with all yogurt sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and get mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 40 minutes.

Step 4:  Stir in the almond milk and tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 minutes more. Test chicken by cutting through to make sure done, taste sauce and add salt if needed, turn off heat to let sit for 5 minutes and serve with rice.

Day 2 tip: Those leftovers will be insane! We put the leftover rice in a covered casserole dish, poured the chicken and sauce over top, and stored in the refrigerator. The next day we put the whole dish in a 365 degree oven with the cover on for about 45 minutes. The flavor intensified and was incredible. 


Tags: ,