My love for Indian food is no secret and I think it’s my favourite type of cuisine, probably because it satisfies my spice addiction. However, despite this love, I’m sometimes afraid to cook Indian dishes. I don’t know why, I’m always worried I’m going to screw up the spice quantities, and get an unbalanced curry as a result, or that I’m going to burn or undercook the spices…and sometimes this happens and it makes me really sad.
I’ve always wanted to make butter chicken but I never had the courage, until I stumbled upon a Gordon Ramsay recipe in his Ultimate Cookery Course book that looked amazing and quite approachable. This butter chicken ticks all the boxes: it’s spicy, colourful, creamy and tomatoey. You do need some fragrant basmati rice to go with it and you definitely need some flatbread to mop up the sauce.
I’m not much of a bread lover, or a bread eater, but I do love flatbread. It can be soft, crispy, oily, puffy, charred…I like it’s different functions too. It can be a wrap, the base of a plate, a way to scoop up food, a way to clean the plate… It is probably the most humble type of bread but it’s so versatile and fun to make because you can adapt it. Plus it’s easy to make compared to a loaf of bread that needs to rise for an hour or two and then needs to be baked in the oven.
This recipe is really easy. You don’t need an oven, it uses four ingredients that are easy to find and it takes about 30 minutes between mixing the ingredients and resting the dough and then about 1 minute for each flatbread to cook. This is a whole-grain flatbread because I prefer the slightly nutty taste whole-grain flour gives to this bread, however they do come out a little less soft than if you made them with white flour. You can swap whole-grain flour for white flour if you prefer, or add some herbs and spices if you want to make it more interesting. This recipe is adapted from Julie Goodwin.
Butter Chicken (serves 2 to 3)
300g of chicken breast, cubed
for the marinade: 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 3cm piece of ginger, grated; 1 tsp of chili powder; ¼ lemon, juiced; 2 tsp coriander powder; 1 tsp cumin powder; ½ tsp turmeric powder; 150g of greek yogurt.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp tomato purée
salt and pepper
Put all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add the chicken cubes and coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Once the chicken is done marinating, heat the olive oil in a medium pan on medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and the ginger until fragrant. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes. Mix in the tomato purée until it forms a paste-like texture with the spices and the onion mix. Add the butter and swirl the pan around to let it melt. Add the chicken pieces to the pan making sure most of the marinade drips back into the bowl. Cook for 7-10 minutes until it’s cooked. Reduce the heat to low and add a couple of tablespoons of water and the remaining marinade and cook for five minutes until it’s thick and creamy. Add salt, pepper and some coriander leaves. Serve with some basmati rice and flatbread.
Whole-grain flatbread (makes 4 medium ones)
140g of whole-grain flour
½ tsp salt
95ml semi-skimmed milk
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. In a small saucepan heat the milk and the butter on a medium heat until the butter has melted. Add to the bowl with the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together in a loose ball. Start kneading the dough with your hands and do so for about 5 minutes until it looks smooth and elastic. Cover with cling film and rest for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Lightly dust the work top and the rolling-pin with some flour. Roll out one ball at a time until it’s roundish and almost see-through. Heat a flat pan on high heat and when it’s really hot brush it with some olive oil. Add one disk of flatbread and cook it for about 30 to 60 seconds on each side until golden or slightly charred spots appear. To make it puff up a little press the flatbread with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining flatbreads.