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The Better Butter Chicken Battle

Review of Ustad Banne Nawab’s Hyderabadi Butter Chicken Masala

Part I: The Cooking

I know this is only the second Recipe I have tried, but unless they are all this complicated I think this one may go down as the most fun to cook. To start with I had to deal with ingredients that were unfamiliar to me. Reading down the list I needed 1 small bunch of Hara Dhania. I was worried that I would be off to the Indian grocery store, but a quick Google search provided the fact that this is really cilantro. No problem there because I decided to just leave it out. I have never liked cilantro in my Mexican food so why on earth would I put it in my Indian food. [Michelle will back me up on this one.] The second fun ingredient was 2 pinches of Orange Red Color. This was supposed to be used to color the yogurt – my guess is so that you don’t serve a dish that looks like warm yogurt. I Googled this one and the only reference I found was in other Indian food recipes. I decided to leave it out since if it is really just for color it shouldn’t change the outcome. I did add a little curry powder to the yogurt to give it some color and I figured given the strong flavor of the masala mix I would be ok.

In addition to such fun measurements as 2 pinches and a bunch most of the measurements were in weight not volume. I’ve heard this is how all recipes are in Europe so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. It still didn’t make it any easier trying to figure out what the volume of 50 grams of cream is. I’m honestly not sure how people cooked before the internet. By my best guess 50 grams of cream is probably less than half a cup. I added a full cup of cream.

As I started to read through the recipe I found even more fun things. In fairness the pressure cooker is mentioned early on, but I didn’t notice it until towards the end where it said, “Close lid of pressure cooker”. I also like how the recipe measured water, “take half small tea cup water” and “add 1 glass water.” It really was a fun meal to cook and there is a lot of simmering in a meal like this so there is time to run and look up how much 50 grams of yogurt is by volume. My goal was to stay as true to the recipe as possible so if it turns out well I can make it again. The only differences were that my “pressure cooker” is a pan with a tight lid, I skipped the Soaplantro, and I added the curry to the yogurt. And the extra cream, but I am pretty sure I always add extra cream so it should still be reproducible.

Beer I drank with the meal:

Tusker, a lager brewed in Nairobi, Kenya by East African Brewereis. It was a decent beer and it went well with the curry.

Part II: The Eating

The bar to pass going forward-I took a taste before the cream or yogurt were added and my tongue actually went numb. Luckily, in the end the dish wasn’t that spicy.

Kira politely said this one was was good, but maybe not as good as the first one. Melanie bluntly just said the other one was better. Perhaps the best praise was when Sarah tried the sauce and pronounced it, “Not bad.” She even took a second taste so it must have been good. As vehicles for the curry we had store bought Naan and Japanese sticky rice. I think in the future I am going to make an effort to make some dryer rice. I’m not really sure if that made a difference, but I do know that I liked the sauce considerably more when I dipped the Naan into it vs. on the rice. This is the second butter chicken recipe I’ve made in the last couple weeks thanks to Chris and in comparison to the first one I will admit that it fell a little short. The first recipe was almost addictive it was so good while this one was just really tasty. However, I actually think this one tasted more like the Moti’s Butter Chicken I remember from Tokyo. I really liked the flavor when dipping the Naan and probably would have just eaten it that way if I hadn’t poured a bunch in my bowl to start with. Perhaps the true reason I know this one was not as good as the first is that we have left overs. Of course that is not all bad.

Verdict:

Second on spiciness. Second on flavor. First on Moti comparison.

Things I learned while making this:

The Indian name for Butter Chicken is Murgh Makhani.

Masala simply means spice or spices.

Recipe

Method of Preparation Butter Chicken

VERY IMPORTANT:No need to add Salt, Red chili, Ginger, Garlic or anything else apart from the ingredients given below. Increase quantities proportionally for serving more than 5 persons. Follow instructions given below as it is for best results.

Ingredients Required for 5 persons

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken — ½ Kg / 1 lb
  • Onions Finely diced — 3 medium
  • Cooking oil — 2 Tablespoons / 30ml
  • Hara Dhania Sliced finely — 1 small bunch
  • Mint leaves/Pudina Sliced finely — 1 small bunch
  • Yogurt/Curd — 50 grams / 1.76 oz
  • Butter — 50 grams / 1.76 oz
  • Cashew Nuts Grounded with ½ cup water — 30 grams / 1.06 oz
  • Cream — 50 grams / 1.76 oz
  • Orange Red Color — 2 pinches
  • Ustad Banne Nawab’s Hyderabadi Butter Chicken Masala — 1 packet
STEPS OF COOKING
  1. Take half small tea cup of water and make paste of Butter chicken masala and apply to Chicken along with the grounded Cashew nut paste and keep aside.
  2. Add Orange red color in the yogurt/curd, mix and whip thoroughly and keep aside.
  3. Heat oil and butter in a pressure cooker, fry onions till they start changing color.
  4. Add the chicken and fry for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring continuously making sure Butter chicken masala paste doesn’t stick to bottom of cooker.
  5. Add yogurt/curd to the above and cook, stirring continuously till yogurt/curd is done. (This process takes anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes).
  6. Add 1 glass of water and mix thoroughly.
  7. Close lid of pressure cooker. On first whistle of cooker, close stove and let cooker cool down.
  8. Remove lid and cook till chicken is tender and gravy becomes thick, stirring occasionally. Add cream, mix thoroughly and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Close stove, add Hara Dhania and Mint leaves, cover cooker and let it remain on stove for 5 minutes and server.
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