Butter Chicken

Indian Entree

BUTTER CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves (3 more later)
1 teaspoon chili powder (1 teaspoon more later)
1 teaspoon cumin (1 teaspoon more later)
2 teaspoons garam masala (1 teaspoon more later)
½ teaspoon turmeric

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1″ ginger root
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
1 tablespoon butter (5 more tablespoons later)
5 tablespoons butter
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 cup cream
4 naan loaves or rice

SPECIAL UTENSIL

blender

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 15 minutes.

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Cut chicken into 1″ cubes. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Add all marinade ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mix with fork until thoroughly blended and chicken cubes are thoroughly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

PREPARATION – SAUCE

Add marinated chicken and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high for 10 minutes or until the chicken cubes brown on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside. Mince 3 garlic cloves and onion. Grate ginger root. Add 1 tablespoon butter, garlic, and onion to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add ginger. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir frequently.

Add 5 tablespoons butter, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, garam masala, and salt. Simmer at low heat for 1 minute or butter melts and absorbs into the spices. Stir frequently. Add crushed tomatoes. Simmer at low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Empty contents of pan into blender and puree them.

Add puree back to pan. Add cream and chicken cubes. Simmer on low heat for 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Stir occasionally. Serve with naan bread.

TIDBITS

1) In 1948, Stalin, the brutal dictator of the Soviet Union decided to force the Western Allies out of Berlin by blockading all rail and road access to the city. He figured that the Allied armed forces and Berlin’s citizens would give up in weeks as they’d have to leave to eat. Then the Soviets could take Berlin without fighting.

2) But by agreement, the Western Allies had access to Berlin via three air corridors. The American and British, by herculean efforts, air lifted millions upon millions of tons of coal to the city. They did the same for foodstuffs, flying in untold tons of: flour, fat, meat, fish, dried potatoes, sugar, powdered milk, yeast dried veggies, salt, and cheese.

3) But no butter.

4) Without butter, it’s impossible to make buttered toast. It’s hopeless to make tasty cookies without butter. Without tasty cookies, the way to live ebbs away. Without cookies, people grow listless and indifferent. President Truman realized that without cookies, the Berliners wouldn’t lift a finger to resist any Russian invasion.

5) But there was no room on the air transports to bring in butter.

6) So Truman in conjunction with German chicken farmers organized the Butter Chicken Brigade, Butterhühnerbrigade in German. They really do have a word for everything.

7) The German chicken handlers loaded their chickens with panniers brimming with tubs of butter. The Soviet soldiers surrounding Berlin couldn’t stop the chickens from running the blockade. Have you ever did to catch a chicken? It isn’t easy.

8) Anyway, Berliners, their resolve stiffened by the now possible cookies, united against the Russians. The Russians knew they could face them down. Soon afterward, Stalin lifted the blockade. The Butter Chickens of Berlin had preserved their city. Indeed, they’d saved the world.

9) Said to say, their only recognition came, strangely, enough from India which developed this dish in honor of the Berlin’s plucky chickens.

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Butter Chicken

  1. italiadiva

    It’s hard to believe that all the history books fail to mention this!

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