Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Smita Chandra's Home-Style Butter Chicken...

I am super excited to introduce you to Smita Chandra, a renowned Indian cookbook author, cooking instructor, brand ambassador, food consultant and spokesperson for various food companies, and her vast culinary talents and experiences goes on. She also develops recipes for Kraft's South Asian platform Kraft Ka Khana and I had the pleasure to meet her before I left Kraft Kitchens. She's simply the sweetest person and extremely passionate about food and travel, and teaching. I invited her to guest blog on Susan's Savour-It with an Indian recipe that appeals to families and that is great for fall... I think we can all agree butter chicken fits this bill in so many ways.  Without further ado...

Smita Chandra, a leading authority
on Indian cooking.
Butter chicken is one of the best known and best loved dishes of Indian cuisine. Ask anyone what their favourite Indian dish is and chances are they will say it is Butter chicken! 

There is something almost addictive about the rich, creamy, mildly spiced tomato sauce, studded with succulent morsels of roasted chicken. If you are trying to get your kids used to eating a bit of spicy food, this is the dish to get them hooked on! 

It is quite easy to make butter chicken at home. All you need are a few well-chosen spices, tomatoes, butter and cream. My home-style version also has sautéed onions and peppers for added flavour and texture. You can throw in any veggies that you like such as sliced zucchini, roasted cauliflower, fava beans, or whatever you have lying around in your refrigerator. 

I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs because they have better flavour than its breasts and they don’t dry out with long cooking. However, you can easily substitute chicken breasts if you like and cut down on the cooking time. 

Smita's Home-Style Butter Chicken
Makes 4 servings

1-1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 8 large), trimmed of fat and cut into bite sized pieces 

For the marinade:
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp each: ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves, cayenne pepper, turmeric 

For the sauce: 
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ inch ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ sweet red pepper, diced
½ sweet green pepper, diced
1 can (796 mL) premium whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano-style), pureed
1/2 tsp each: ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, cayenne pepper, dried fenugreek leaves and sugar
Salt to taste
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. butter

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro,  2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place chicken in a large mixing bowl. Add all marinade ingredients and toss well to coat. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes or longer in the refrigerator. 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with parchment and evenly spread marinated chicken in a single layer. Bake for about 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and lightly browned. Transfer chicken to a bowl, along with all of the juices. 

Roasted chicken out of the oven.

Warm oil in deep skillet over medium high heat. Add cumin seeds, let sizzle for 30 seconds. Add ginger and garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. Add onions and sweet peppers and sauté for eight to ten minutes until lightly browned and softened. Add tomatoes, all the spices, salt and sugar. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook till the mixture thickens slightly, about ten minutes. Add cream, butter and reserved cooked chicken with its juices; mix well with the sauce. Cook for ten minutes for flavours to blend. Remove from heat; fold in fresh coriander and lemon juice.

Susan says: "Aromatic, rich and velvety... can't wait to make this restaurant favourite in my home!"

For a vegetarian version of this dish, substitute cubes of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) for the chicken. Smita pairs butter chicken with steamed basmati rice, Wilted Spinach Raita and Alu Gobhi

If you are interested in home-style Indian cooking, Smita has a collection of mouth-watering recipes made specifically for the home cook http://smitachandra.com/recipes/ and a food travel blog http://smitachandra.com/blog/ that will entice you to pack up your bags and throw in a fork, knife, spoon and a pair of chopsticks and go meandering across countries in search of culture and the next tasty bite!


  1. Made this last night and it was so yummy!!!

  2. Smita will be delighted to hear that. She's in India right now and I'm sure she'll be back with more delicious recipes up her sleeve. Will definitely have her do another guest blog in the near future.

  3. Looks delicious and I love how easy to follow the recipes are. Would love to try it out.
    Laxmi Nagar

    1. Thank you Laxmi, this recipe really is tasty and gorgeous!

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