Better than Takeaway Butter Chicken

I LOVE butter chicken. It is always my go-to order at Indian restaurants and a good butter chicken is up there with my favourite foods. Sadly, butter chicken doesn’t always love me. I’m allergic to capsicum and while Canberran restaurant butter chicken was capsicum-free, the Adelaide restaurants I’ve tried all seem to add it in ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.  That meant that for 2 miserable years I had no butter chicken that didn’t result in terrible stomach pains.

Fortunately, Pinterest came to the rescue (as it often does), and after a few false starts, I found a recipe that produced butter chicken equal to or better than my favourite restaurant versions. The key ingredient is fenugreek leaves. They may be a little hard to find (I order mine online from herbies spices) but PLEASE do not judge this recipe without it – they are what set it apart from pre-made butter chicken sauces and give it its authentic flavour.

Because it is a little fiddly to make, we often double the recipe and make a huge batch that will make enough for several dinners and lunches. I actually think it tastes even better the next day once the flavours have had more time to integrate. We serve it with fluffy basmati rice and homemade rotis.

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Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1kg chicken thigh fillets, diced
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
1 brown onion, chopped
6 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
50g cashews, soaked
60g butter + 1 tablespoon for cooking
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon tandoori paste
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 cup cream

fullsizeoutput_17ad.jpegMethod
Sauté cardamom pods in 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan for 1 minute. Add onion, garlic and tomatoes with a pinch of salt and cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add cashews and ginger and continue to cook until tomatoes are pulpy.

Cool the mixture slightly, then blend in a blender until it resembles a loose, smooth puree.

Add 60g butter to the pan and then return the puree to the pan after straining it through a sieve and discarding the cardamom pod fragments. Add chilli flakes, fenugreek leaves and salt and cook for around 15 minutes on medium heat.

Add chicken, tandoori paste, garam masala and honey. After 15 minutes, adjust seasoning as necessary and let simmer for a further 25-30 minutes for the flavours to develop.

Add cream just before serving.

Serve with rice and/or rotis. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘Homemade Recipes.com.au’

 

Quick & Easy Indian Flatbread (Roti)

This recipe really gets a workout in our household because 1. we love Indian food, 2. we especially love having it with bread to soak up all the curry sauce deliciousness, & 3. this recipe is incredibly quick, easy & non-scary as it doesn’t involve yeast. We make rotis particularly when having butter chicken, but it’s great with all kind of curries. Thankfully, it only takes about 15-20 minutes from start to finish so is perfect for while your curry is simmering away.

It also travels really well as I discovered last week when we took butter chicken & rotis over to my grandparents’ house for dinner (see pic below), and will keep in cling wrap at room temperature for a couple of days (perfect for any leftover curry!)

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Ingredients (makes 12 rotis)
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
200ml water

Method
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, water and oil until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a flat, floured surface and knead until smooth and pliable (around 10 minutes).

Preheat frying pan on medium-high heat.

Divide the dough into 12 equal parts, form into rounds and then roll each out to 15-20cm rounds with a rolling pin.

Cook the roti for about a minute on each side, or until it has some dark brown spots on each side. Serve warm.

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Recipe adapted from ‘allrecipes.com.au’.

Crispy Skinned Peking Duck Pancakes

I’ve wanted to start the savoury baking section of my blog for a while now, but unlike with sweet baking, my savoury baking is almost never planned (and consequently not photographed). Finally, after months & months of struggling to decide which recipe to put up as my first in the section, I decided on one of my all-time favourites: peking duck pancakes.

If I’m honest, they are a bit time-consuming to make, and duck breasts certainly aren’t cheap, but considering how much you can pay for these babies in a restaurant, it’s certainly worth your while having a go at home, and they’re absolutely delicious!

The recipe I have written here is enough for a main meal for 4, but feel free to halve it if it’s just for an entrée, or double it to make it serve more.

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Ingredients (makes approximately 40 small pancakes)
For the pancakes:
4 ½ cups plain flour
1½ -2 cups boiling water
Sesame oil

For the duck:
4 duck breasts
Salt

To serve:
1 large cucumber, cut into batons
The green tops of 2-3 spring onions, julienned
Coriander/cilantro
Hoisin sauce (aka the greatest thing ever)

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Method
To make the pancakes, place the flour in a large bowl and stir in the boiling water. Knead until the dough is smooth.

Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a clean,damp cloth and allow to stand for at least 30mins.

Knead again for about 5mins, then divide into approximately 40 balls.

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Dip one side of a ball into a little sesame oil. Press the oiled ball together with another (unoiled) dough ball, oiled side towards the centre, and roll out to form a 15cm circle. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Fry the pancakes in a lightly oiled pan over a low heat, turn and lightly cook the other side. Both sides should be only very little browned (sort of like a mini tortilla).

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Carefully peel the pancakes apart (careful not to burn yourself!) and keep warm until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 200°C and 2 frypans to a medium-high heat. Prepare the duck by scoring the skin with a sharp knife and lightly salting it.

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I know I said 4… and this is 6. But I had 2 left over for another time

Place 2 breasts in each pan, skin-side down and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the skin is golden. Turn and cook for a further minute.

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Transfer the duck breasts onto a lightly oiled baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for a further 8-10 minutes.

While the duck is cooking, prepare your vegetables.

Once the duck is cooked, rest it for 5 minutes and then slice.

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To assemble the pancakes, put approximately a teaspoon of hoisin sauce onto the middle of the pancake, top with 2 slices of duck, some cucumber, spring onion & coriander and roll. Enjoy!

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Pancake recipe adapted from ‘The World’s Finest Food’ by Ann Creber, Elisabeth King & Phil Wymant