Citizens, there are few recipes that have achieved greater acclaim in the San Francisco Bay Area than Amber India restaurant’s Butter Chicken!
As noted on recipelink.com:
Those who claim that all Indian food tastes alike–and in many restaurants that’s a legitimate complaint–need only to taste the Butter Chicken at Amber India in Mountain View. Little wonder it’s the best-selling dish at the restaurant. The sauce is an amazing amalgamation of tastes and textures. Lemon, garlic, ginger, coriander, and cumin mixed with sweet spices add to the flavor, while the tomatoes, balanced with butter, cream, and brown sugar, smooth it all out.
Marinating the chicken in yogurt and spices before cooking adds flavor and tenderizes the meat. The chicken is then roasted on the bone. Once the chicken has been cooled, the meat is removed from the bone and simmered with the sauce. The finished dish is best accompanied by steamed rice to sop up all the aromatic juices.
While many Indian dishes are spicy and aromatic, the key to this dish is its delicacy and balance. The recipe has been perfected by Vijay Bist, who graduated from a culinary institute in New Delhi before going into hotel management in India, Switzerland, and France. When he came to San Francisco he completed an MBA at San Francisco State University.
Bist’s passion for Indian cooking led him to opening the restaurant in 1995, featuring recipes mainly from North India.
Located in a strip shopping center, the restaurant looks plain from the outside, but once inside you’re surrounded by the flavors of India, from the seductive smells floating from the kitchen to the authentic art work on the walls.
The recipe for this delectable treat has been recounted several times, but each version is different than the original one posted nearly 20 years ago before Amber India became a go-to spot for Bay Area Indian. It was published in a small local paper that I have dug up and this recipe is indeed the original – I’ve eaten it dozens of times at their main restaurant in Mountain View, CA!
From my blog to your table – enjoy, Citizens! 🙂
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
Amber India’s Butter Chicken
- 3 pounds chicken pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs), skinned (TFD NOTE: I would use all breast meat, myself)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic paste (see Note)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ginger paste (see Note)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala (see Note)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
- Pinch of garam rnasala
- Pinch of ground mace
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juices
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups (or more) water
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek (see Note)
- To make the chicken: Make three parallel cuts on top of each piece of chicken. In a resealable heavy-duty plastic bag, combine the lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and 2 teaspoons salt. Add the chicken, coating well with the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In a bowl, stir together the yogurt and cream. Add the garlic paste, ginger paste, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Blend thoroughly. When the chicken has marinated 30 minutes, add the yogurt mixture to the plastic bag. Reseal the bag. Refrigerate overnight.
- To make the sauce: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the ground ginger, chile powder, garam masala, mace, nutmeg, white pepper, and brown sugar.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes with juices, tomato paste, water, and spice mixture. Let simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened, adding more water if needed. Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard the marinade. Place chicken in a baking pan large enough to hold all the pieces in a single layer. Bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bones.
- Add the chicken, cream, and fenugreek to the sauce. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Season to taste with salt.
- Note: Jars of garlic paste and ginger paste are available at Asian stores or some large supermarkets. Garam masala and ground fenugreek are available at specialty food stores or Indian markets.
- SECRETS OF SUCCESS:
- * Marinating: A two-step marinating process adds complex flavor to the chicken. First, the chicken is marinated in seasoned lemon juice for 30 minutes to add fresh notes to the meat. Then the yogurt mixture is added and the chicken marinates overnight.
- * Roasting: The chicken is roasted on the bone, which also adds flavor. The meat is then cooled, boned, and added to the sauce.
- * The sauce: The combination of ingredients, smoothed with just a touch of cream, creates a very buttery-silken sauce.
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I love butter chiken