I never realised how much we food lovers in India take Indian food for granted. Most of us talk about eating authentic Italian, Japanese, Asian, American food, but rarely talk about authentic Indian dishes – me included. While we are all gaga over Indian fusion cuisine, I feel a lot of us have not yet delved into the richness of true Indian cuisine. All this hit me one day when I was speaking with an Italian blogger and she asked me whether I knew how to make Naan. And, it hit me, I didn’t! What is it that makes us so ignorant of the vast variety of cuisines existing in our own country? Of course, that’s possibly because it is something we are used to, something we have eaten through out childhood in some form or the other.
Anyway, over time, I have increasingly realised that it is so important for me, per se, as a food lover, writer and blogger to know more about how authentic Indian dishes taste, and I started off with Butter Chicken and Naan, inspired by my Italian blogger friend.
My first introduction to Butter Chicken was when, as a child, I visited a restaurant called Hassan Bin Thabit in Salalah, with my family. This place was run by the father of one of my Mallu friends, and we just loved the food there. To this day, I remember the creamy texture of the butter chicken with bites of cashewnuts and a tinge of sourness and sweetness in the gravy. However, when I came to India, I’ve had so many bastardised versions of this dish, some extremely sweet, some really thick and creamy, and none that were great. So when, I was asked for the Naan recipe, I decided to make some Butter Chicken to go with it. Went through three videos – two of Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi making Butter Chicken and one of Nisha Madhulika making Naan. I then combined all the Butter Chicken recipes and tips by Chef Sokhi and used the Naan recipe from Indian Simmer.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour or wheat flour
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup yoghurt
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- Mix all the dry ingredients together and make a well in between.
- Now, mix the milk and yoghurt together, and pour half of it into the well and combine.
- You need not use the exact amount of liquid. Just add enough to make the dough soft and pliable.
- If the dough sticks too much, use some oil and punch into the dough.
- Cover with a damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least two hours.
- To prepare the naan, knead the dough for about 2-3 minutes on a floured surface.
- Divide the dough into small balls.
- Flatten the balls and roll out the bread into an elongated form.
- You may add flavourings like jeera, garlic, coriander leaves on one side. Brush the other side with water.
- Heat a thick-bottomed pan. Once it is hot, place the wet side of the naan on the surface and cover with a lid.
- Let it cook for about 30 seconds.Now cook the other side of the naan over a direct flame with tongs. Or, continue to cook in the pan like you would a chapatti.
- Apply butter to the naan and set in a basket.
- Cuisine: North Indian
- Course: Main Course
- Preparation Time: 60 mins
- Cooking Time: 60 mins
- 500 gms chicken (I prefer it with the bone – preferably thigh pieces)
- 1/2 cup yoghurt (remove as much whey as possible)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp Shaan tandoori masala (if you don’t have this, increase the chilli powder to 1.5 tsp and use 1/2 tsp amchur)
- 1 tsp ground garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger paste
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
- half Juice of a lime
For the gravy
- 2 tbsp + 2 tbsps butter
- 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp oil
- 750 gms tomatoes (chopped coarsely)
- 2 tbsps garlic (minced)
- 2 cloves
- 1 whole cardamom
- 1/2 inch cinnamon
- 2 tbsps kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1 tbsp cream (I used Amul)
- to taste salt
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/2 inch ginger, julienned
- 1 green chilli, chopped fine
- Coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish
- In a bowl, place the chicken and add all the ingredients. Marinade the chicken for a minimum of 1/2 an hour.
- Once, it is done, take out the chicken and flick off the marinade in the bowl. Keep aside the leftover marinade.
- Now, in a hot pan with a little oil, sear off the chicken (add salt to the chicken at this stage) on either side and pop into a preheated oven at 180 C for atleast 25-30 minutes. Alternatively, you may pan fry it at a low heat, till it is just cooked.
- While the chicken is roasting off, prepare the gravy.
- In a pot, add 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil and the minced garlic. Took till golden. Add the whole garam masala and saute.
- Now add the chopped tomatoes and cover the pot. Keep on medium heat, till the tomatoes cook down.
- Once, its cooked well, put into a mixer and puree well.
- Now, in the same pan, add the rest of the butter and through a sieve, strain the tomato gravy over the hot butter. Mix well and keep on a slow simmer.
- Put in the remaining marinade from the chicken.
- Now, crush the kasuri methi between your hands and put into the gravy.
- Add salt to season, sugar to cut off the tartness of the tomatoes.
- Now, add the chicken and let the gravy simmer for 10 minutes.
- Garnish with some cream, the chillies, ginger and coriander and serve hot.
Note: Leaving the tomato skin on, allows the gravy to get that gorgeous red colour.
For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with Paneer for Butter Paneer Masala.