Last Wednesday night I was lucky enough to be invited to the Australian Premier of Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse, and it was absolutely magical. Being an animal lover, to see the horses in a production like this was really special. The show celebrates the history of the bond between human and horse and to see the understanding, trust and patience between these two, and four legged friends was incredibly beautiful and touching.
So, naturally, I now want a herd of white horses, and feel even worse about those Swedish meatballs I ate the other week.
But, I am happy to let you know that there were no horses harmed in the making of this Butter Chicken.
4 large chicken thigh fillets, cut into quarters
1 tbs Tandoori paste, now you could make your own, but to be honest, I haven’t found a recipe that is anywhere near up to scratch and the jarred stuff is full of flavour
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 lime, juiced
2 tbs yoghurt
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red capsicum, chopped
4 coriander roots, cleaned and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 cm of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp Tandoori paste
100gm salted, roast cashews
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp chilli powder, optional and not traditional
1 can of tomato puree
1 cup water
1/4 cup cream
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbs butter
Salt to taste
In a large bowl, combine the Tandoori paste, garam masala, lime and yoghurt. Mix well. Add chicken and leave to marinate overnight or for at least an hour.
In a large fry pan, cook the onions and capsicum until they start to soften. Place the coriander root, ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle or food processor and pound or process until a smooth paste. Add paste to onions and capsicum an cook for a few minutes to cook the garlic. Then add the tandoori paste and fry off. You can sprinkle the fry pan with a little water during this process to make sure nothing sticks and burns.
In a food processor, blend the cashews and 1/2 cup of water to a smooth paste. Finally, add the cashew paste, tomato puree, chilli powder and water and cook uncovered for 10 mins. Reduce heat and blend with a stick blender until smooth, keep on a very low simmer to reduce slightly.
While your sauce is simmering away, get your chicken on. Low and slow is how you want to cook this chicken. You can do this in the oven on a rack over a baking tray or on a trivet over some foil in a Webber or BBQ. I prefer the Webber as the open flame cooking gives you a slightly smoky and slightly more authentic Tandoor oven flavour. The thighs will take about 40 minutes at about 160°C. If you do have a BBQ or are cooking on the Webber you can also place them on the grill over a the flame to char slightly for a few minutes at the very end.
Once the chicken is cooked, stir though the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat, add butter and cream and mix well. Check seasoning for the final time. Serve with rice, naan, raita and mango chutney.