Let me tell you a funny thing about my husband. He doesn't like Indian food or Chinese food. Okay, that's not the funny thing. What's funny is that what he really doesn't like is food that is called Indian food or Chinese food. So if I say, "Hey I'm making this Indian dish tonight" I get that look--maybe you know the one--that look that says, "Really, woman, cause I don't remember that as part of our wedding vows." However, if I flop open a bag of chicken and add some tomato sauce, spices, a little cream, and serve it on rice, well then we're cool. "What's this," he might ask. And I say (trying to avoid eye contact), "Oh, it's just this little dish called, um, tomato-y chicken creamy stuff." And then he's like, "Okay." And then sometimes he's like, "It's a little spicy." But he just keeps eating. This is my life people. Lucky for me, butter chicken is actually called "butter chicken" (at least on all the Indian menus I've seen). I mean, how inocuous is that.
Him: "Whacha making?"
Me: (able to maintain eye contact) "Oh, just some butter chicken." (innocent batting of the eyelashes)
Him: "Sounds good."
Yeah. Because it is. Dang good. It's not too hard either.
adapted from Mostly Food and Crafts
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Cost: $4.70 (served with simple white rice and peas, this meal comes up to about $1.50-1.70/person, although portions are not teenager sized and prices are based off of Aldi.)
chicken: 3.00, butter: .30, onion: .15, tomato sauce: .75, yogurt: .20, all those crazy spices: .30
Note on marinade: I'm not a big marinator (not a word, I know). I usually just make the marinade right before and let it sit while I get the rice going. This might be even better if you marinate, but I never think about it far enough ahead.
Note on sauce: You can use tomato sauce or tomato puree. If you use sauce, be sure to use less salt at first and then taste it and add more at the end if necessary.
For the Marinade:
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ginger powder
4 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3-4 medium chicken breasts, diced
For the Sauce:
5 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced (or finely finely grated if you've got onion-haters among you)
15 oz tomato sauce
1/4 C plain yogurt
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
Combine marinade ingredients and pour over diced chicken. Marinate if you actually thought about this more than two hours before dinner (and give yourself a pat on the back while you're at it).
When you're ready to make this, heat a large skillet and dump the chicken and marinade into the pan. Cook chicken until browned, then remove it from the pan and set aside.
Add butter to that same pan. Melt it and add onions. Cook until they're getting soft (five minutes). Add chicken, any accumulated juices, and the remaining ingredients (tomato sauce, yogurt, garam masala, salt, and cayenne). Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should thicken somewhat. If it doesn't, increase the heat at the end and let it boil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan. [Quick tip: If you're rushed for time, turn up the heat at the beginning to boiling, but stir it very frequently. You're dinner will be done in 10-15 minutes instead of 30, BUT you will have to give it your full attention instead of just letting it sit and simmer.]
Serve over rice. You can add cilantro to the top, which is really yummy. You can also add some peas at the end of cooking. This is very yummy too.