A rich cashew nut sauce gives this butter chicken recipe a wonderfully creamy taste and authentic flavour, says Naqiyah Mayat, author of The Beginning: Indian Recipes from my Home.
FOR THE CASHEW SAUCE:
- ½ cup unsalted (raw) cashew nuts
- 2 T ghee
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2-4 cloves
- 2-4 cardamom pods
- ½ tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 T ground green chilli
- ½ cup reduced fat cream
- 1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk
- ½ cup water
- Toast the cashew nuts in a pan to release a nutty aroma, then grind to a fine powder.
- In a pot, add the ghee and heat on medium heat.
- Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods, cumin seeds and onion.
- Sauté till golden and translucent.
- Add the ground cashews and incorporate them into the ghee and onion mixture.
- To this, add the ground green chilli (to taste) and mix well.
- Add the cream, fat-free or low-fat milk and water.
- Add salt to taste and allow the sauce to thicken.
- Using a stick blender, purée and blend the sauce.
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 1 chicken cut into smaller, bite-size pieces
- 3 T lemon juice
- 1 t fine black pepper
- 1 t turmeric
- ½ t ground cumin powder
- ½ t ground coriander powder
- 3 T butter
- 3 pieces of charcoal
- Fresh coriander, to garnish
- Cut 1 chicken into smaller, bite-size pieces. (I prefer using the meatier pieces and adding in 2 chicken fillets to make up a full kilogram. I omit the wings and drumsticks altogether.)
- Add the lemon juice, fine black pepper, turmeric, ground cumin powder and ground coriander powder.
- In an oven-safe pan, add the butter and seal the chicken. Remove from the stove-top.
- Pour the liquid from the grill pan into the sauce and mix well. (You should achieve a yellow-coloured sauce at this stage.)
- Place the chicken in the oven under the grill to cook.
- Once the chicken has browned, add the chicken to the sauce and stir well.
- Light 3 pieces of charcoal and empty into a foil-lined small dish. Place the dish in the middle of the pot containing the sauce and chicken. Add 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil to the charcoal and close the lid immediately.
- Switch the stove off and leave the coal in for 10 minutes.
- Discard the coal and garnish with fresh coriander and crushed cashew nuts, if desired.