I am the queen of adapting takeout food at home. From lo mein noodles to restaurant-worthy steaks to fish tacos, there is little that I haven’t been willing to try to save money. When I visited my friends in Colorado we enjoyed a delicious night of Indian takeout and I fell in love with Butter Chicken. Have you had it? It’s so rich and delicious, just as you would expect from its name. I knew when I got home that I wanted to attempt making the dish and I set out to find a recipe that would adapt to my small town supermarket.
One of the ingredients in this recipe is a spice combo called garam masala, that you will find is used in many Indian dishes. After standing in our spice aisle for a good half hour, I discovered our store did not have it (or apparently was out of it on the day I decided to be adventurous!). Since I had already visited three stores that day, I found this recipe for making your own garam masala spice combo out of spices you likely have lurking in your pantry. It was easy to know what I already had thanks to my newly organized spice cabinet and this saved me some money especially since I wasn’t sure if my family would love this dish as much as me. If your store doesn’t have this spice too, this diy recipe will do in a pinch or you can order the real stuff online.
With basmati rice in my rice cooker and my Ninja Cooker for my frying and then warming (The greatest gift of an appliance to busy moms. Amen. AND on sale. Ahem.), this was an easy dish to prepare and to double.
I also noticed that our ALDI has boneless skinless chicken thighs now and at around $4-5 for two pounds of meat, it is a very economical dish to make at home. You can basically make enough for your whole family instead of just indulging in one small takeout dish. For this frugal girl, that is a true bonus!
Although I intended to be flashy and show off my gluten-free naan to accompany this dish, I still need to work on tweaking the recipe.
Don’t worry, I haven’t given up yet (but maybe my poor mixer and dirty kitchen have).
If you haven’t had Butter Chicken before it is DIVINE and a great way to dip your toes into Indian cooking and eating. It’s a mildly spiced curry dish and you can do the majority of the preparations the night before which makes it an easy weeknight meal. The chicken is marinated in yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and a variety of spices (including that garam masala we talked about!) overnight. The next day, you simply cook the meat and add a creamy tomato sauce to finish it off.
I hope you can give this dish a spin in your house and I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
Next on my cooking agenda?
Oh, and I will nail that gluten-free naan.
It’s a promise.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 35 mins
- ½ cup full-fat plain yogurt (do not substitute with Greek yogurt!)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp garam masala (see my notes above to make your own spice combo)
- ½ tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper powder (you can go lighter if your family prefers a less spicy dish)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into pieces
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup tomato passata or puree (I used crushed tomatoes because that is what our store offered. If you prefer a smoother consistency substitute with tomato sauce and use a little tomato paste to thicken)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup- ¾ cup heavy cream (we went a little lighter with half-and-half)
- Coriander/cilantro (optional)
- Combine the marinade ingredient in a bowl. Dice your chicken thigh meat and place in a food storage bag. Pour the sauce over the chicken, seal, and shake bag to coat your chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
- Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large fry pan. Add the chicken coated in the Marinade and cook for around 3 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked on the outside. It has a yellow hue thanks to the tumeric!
- Add the tomato passata (or crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce with the addition of a little tomato paste to thicken), sugar and salt. Turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Do a taste test to see if it needs more salt. Stir through the cream, then remove from heat.
- Garnish with coriander/cilantro leaves if using. Serve with basmati rice.