One restaurant dish that is easy to emulate at home is butter chicken or chicken makhni as it is fondly called. The recipe is given here so that while going through it you can realize that it is fairly elaborate, but we suggest no shortcuts, whatsoever!
Make incisions with a sharp knife on breast and leg pieces of one chicken around 800 gram in weight. Apply a mixture of 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and salt to the chicken and set aside for half an hour. Hang 1 cup yogurt in a muslin cloth for 15-20 minutes to remove extra water. Add 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder, salt, 4 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon garam masala powder and 2 tablespoons mustard oil. Apply this marinade to the chicken pieces and refrigerate for three to four hours. Put the chicken onto a skewer and cook in a moderately hot tandoor or a preheated oven (200°C) for ten to twelve minutes or until almost done. Baste it with butter and cook for another two minutes. Remove and set aside. To make the makhni gravy, Heat 3-4 tablespoons butter in a pan. Add 2-3 green cardamoms, 4 cloves, 6 peppercorns and 1 inch cinnamon. Sauté for two minutes, add 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste and 5 chopped green chillies. Cook for two minutes. Add 2 cups tomato puree, 1 tablespoon red chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder, salt and one cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sugar or honey and ½ teaspoon powdered kasoori methi. Add cooked tandoori chicken pieces. Simmer for five minutes and then add 1 cup fresh cream. Serves 4. Accompany with naan or parantha.
Special tips on how to get it right
• Chicken should be tender, and do not overcook it in the over or tandoor.
• Heat kasoori methi in the oven for sometime or broil kasoori methi on a tawa/griddle plate to make it crisp. It can easily be crushed to a powder with your hand.
• Cream should be really smooth.
• Have used garam masala very sensibly so do not be tempted to increase the quantity.
• And yes, honey does wonders in this dish.