Recipe of the week: Kalpna Woolf Butter Chicken

Nothing reminds me of my childhood more than coming home to the scent of my wonderful mother preparing the “famous butter chicken,” says Kalpna Woolf’s son Ben. With tender pieces of chicken in a spicy yet perfectly balanced creamy sauce, this is a dish that will warm your stomach and heart.

Serves four people


For the sauce:

  • 2 large skinned chicken breasts
  • 3 large boneless chicken thighs
  • 115ml plain Greek yogurt or unrefined yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Kashmiri chili peppers, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 2 tablespoons tandoori masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric and coriander
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

  • 85g butter
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 thinly sliced ​​onion
  • 2 tablespoons tandoori masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric and red pepper
  • 200g tomato passata
  • 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes
  • 150ml sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons double cream
  • 100ml hot water
  • 100g bay leaf
  • bunch of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Deeply chop the chicken breasts and thighs without slicing immediately, then cut into 2- or 3-inch lengths. Put the yogurt in a large bowl and beat well so that there are no lumps. Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk again, then coat the chicken mixture in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but overnight is best.
  • When the chicken is done marinating, preheat the grill to very hot. Shake excess marinade over each chicken piece (keep marinade) and bake for 5 minutes on each side. Chicken should be partially cooked and slightly burnt. Set aside.
  • To make the sauce: Heat a large saucepan or skillet, and add the butter and olive oil. When hot, add sliced ​​onion and sauté until soft and lightly browned. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes, then add honey and tomato puree. Cook over medium heat for another 3-4 minutes, then turn off the heat and let cool.
  • Beat remaining sauce until smooth. When the sauce cools, place the pan back over low heat and slowly pour in the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes, then pour in sour cream and double cream. After 3-4 minutes, fold the grilled chicken. Stir a few times, then add hot water. Bring to a boil slowly, then reduce heat and cover half of the pan.
  • Continue cooking until you have a fairly thick sauce (this will take about 10 minutes). Add a little water if the sauce is too thick. Toss the spinach leaves well, then, when they are wilted, sprinkle over the fresh coriander. Serve with plain basmati rice.

Eat Share Love book cover

Taken from Eat, Share, Love: Our cherished recipes and the stories behind them by Kalpna Woolf, published by Meze Publishing for £22. To purchase from The Week Bookshop for £17.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit Recipe of the week: Kalpna Woolf Butter Chicken

Fry Electronics Team

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