Sunday night dinner.
I wanted Italian, JB wanted Indian.
Working as a great team, we rapidly came up with this compromise, and my first Indian-Italian fusion dish: Butter Chicken Risotto!
I made Butter Chicken for the first time a few weeks ago, using a Sanjeev Kapoor recipe you can find online. The first time, I did not have the right chilly powder and the dish ended up being way too spicy and it was a bit disappointing. A quick trip to the market solved this issue.
To make a good Butter Chicken, you need to use Kashmiri chilly powder, a rather mild, very bright red chilly powder that gives just the right amount of heat to your dish, leaving you with a warmth in the back of your throat, and a sense of accomplishment (that you made the best Butter Chicken possible).
While you are at the market, make sure to buy Kasoori Methi, dried fenugreek leaves, as they round up the flavours of the final dish.
For the butter chicken recipe, I omitted a few steps I found less useful, but all the necessary ingredients are in here. You can find the recipe, step by step, on YouTube.
If they can make Butter Chicken Poutine, I can certainly make Butter Chicken Risotto. And it was absolutely delicious. Delizioso.
For the butter chicken:
400 g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilly powder
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the marinade:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 teaspoons ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the sauce:
1 teaspoon Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilly powder
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
12 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
1. Put the chicken in a bowl with the salt, chilly powder and lemon juice and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate.
2. Mix all the ingredients of the marinade together, add to the chicken and stir well to combine. Store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
3. To make the sauce, put one tablespoon of butter in a large pan, add the cardamom pods and the mace or nutmeg and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic, ginger and stir for another 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Add the chilly powder and the salt and simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes start to turn into a paste, about 20 minutes. Set the oven to 400°F.
4. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender or a food processor and reduce to purée.
5. Clean the pan you used to cook the sauce with a paper towel and melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Strain the purée through a fine sieve and add to the pan, leaving the solids behind. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
6. While the sauce is simmering, spread the chicken on a baking sheet covered with parchment and bake in the hot oven for 12 minutes.
7. Heat the Kasoori Methi in a small pan for 30 seconds and reduce to a fine powder, either with your hands or with a mortar and pestle. Add to the simmering sauce.
8. Add the cooked chicken to the sauce, the honey and crème fraîche and cook for another five minutes. Turn the heat off, set aside and start preparing the risotto.
For the risotto:
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 to 4 cups chicken broth, warm
1. Heat the chicken broth in a small saucepan, reduce the heat to simmer, and keep near where you are going to make the risotto.
2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and cook the onion until soft but not coloured, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the rice and coat with butter, stirring for one minute.
4. Add the wine and keep stirring until evaporated.
5. Add the warm chicken broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, adding more broth when it has evaporated, until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes.
6. Add the butter chicken with its sauce and continue to stir until well blended, about two more minutes.
7. Add the remaining butter and stir to melt. Serve at once.