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Last of the butter chicken experiment

Last night was my fifth go at a different recipe for Chicken butter cream - sometimes described as Butter chicken. Above are my version of Nagi Maehashi's Butter chicken and her own. No prizes for guessing which is which. Well I'm not a professional photographer or food stylist, and I actually almost forgot to take a photo at all. This is the pan with David's helping already removed. It also looks much browner than Nagi's although actually it was much the same colour as hers. I didn't have as much sauce either, but that's because I prefer less and thicker sauce, so I boiled it away a bit. I think that's just a matter of personal taste.

But what did it taste like? Well - absolutely delicious, but maybe not quite as delicious as the original from Delhi's Moti Mohal - shown here, which, I suppose quite fittingly, gets first place. In joint second place I would put Nagi's version with Nik Sharma's, then, somewhat disappointingly Madhur Jaffrey's and finally the recipe on the jar of Patak's Butter chicken paste, but then that's what you would expect. Well I hope so. In a way it would have been very disappointing if that had come out best. Below - in the same order - Nik Sharma, Madhur Jaffrey and Patak's. Well what the first two were supposed to look like anyway. And each got their own post.

Actually they all tasted pretty good. I guess the Patak's version was the easiest, although none of them were difficult. In fact I would probably give the quck and easy prize to Nagi. Five minutes to put the chicken in the marinade and about 20 to 30 minutes to cook. I used breast, although it was supposed to be thighs because I didn't have any thighs. And for this kind of dish I don't think it makes much difference. I guess you have to allow time for the marinade, but as she says this can be done the night before or first thing in the morning. Three hours minimum she says. Then basically you just throw it all in the pot and cook until done.

As an aside another tick for Nagi because she also offered an even easier tray bake version - One-pan baked butter chicken which I may well try for a big family gathering. No marinading required here because:

"the chicken is baking in the sauce for 45 minutes during which time enough flavour infusion happens." Nagi Maehashi

Although of course you can marinade it if you like. Which would make it slightly longer for the whole process.

If you remember this whole experiment arouse out of "Cooking as a game" - an idea I came across in an article somewhere, probably The Guardian but I'm not absolutely sure. The idea was to try different versions of the same dish. Actually one thing that I found with this particular recipe was that there actually wasn't a lot of variation in the ingredients - there was always garam masala and chilli - preferably Kashmiri - yoghurt, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cumin, plus tomato passata and cream. There was actually more, but still only slight, variation in the method, which basically came down to whether you cooked the chicken first. Well the original dish came from using up leftover tandoori chicken. So I guess the final variation would be to buy some tandoori chicken from your nearest Indian restaurant before cooking it in the creamy tomato sauce. Or prepared tandoori chicken, whether chilled or frozen from the supermarket.

Anyway I now have to think of another dish to give the same treatment to.

The usual apologies for my photographs. All taken on an iPhone, often as a last minute thought, not styled and photographed with professional cameras by professional photographers, and really I just wanted to get in and eat it. But then as Felicity Cloake said somewhere - food doesn't have to look good to be delicious - or words to that effect. It's only important for cookbooks. Although isn't it a real buzz when just occasionally what you have cooked almost looks like the photo in the book? Nevertheless:

"[I] will spend more time getting the photo right than [I] will the written recipe in a book because the photo is the more communicative part. A written recipe is actually a fairly poor format for communicating information relevant to cooking. There’s a reason nobody learns to ride a bike from a numbered list of instructions.” Adam Liaw

So don't be put off by my photographs, go with the professional ones and give one of those recipes a try. Or support your local Indian.


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14 juin
Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

Food doesn't get much better than this and what with perfectly cooked rice and delicious home made flat bread. Give it a go or indeed any of the variations that you describe. They were all good!😋

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