BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Butter Chicken

My little apartment kitchen is crammed with cooking appliances, tools and toys. My roommates are extremely generous in allowing me to take up nearly all available shelving with my gadgets, and I feel OK about this only because I use every single one of these items on the regular (and try my damndest to feed my roommates whenever possible—living with a food writer should have some benefits!). With this in mind, I knew I had to come up with something to use my new, beautiful-but-enormous tagine for, beyond tagine-making. Butter Chicken, one of my favorite dishes to order at Pakistani and Indian restaurants, with its need to slowly simmer in a rich, buttery, tomato-y sauce, seemed a natural fit. The sauce for this dish is literally silky, with a luxurious mouthfeel that will leave you unable to stop eating it.

My method proved genius, the tagine’s conical top working overtime to keep the pot’s condensation circulating, yielding a deep, rich flavor. Of course, you can also cook this using a dutch oven or a deep, heavy-bottomed frying pan with a fitted lid.

Note: A nice touch is to throw a head or two of fresh chopped broccoli into the pan and cover, just before the chicken finishes cooking.

  • ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1-inch cubes $3
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced Pantry
  • 1 tsp curry powder $1.50 for 1 oz.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander $1.50 for 1 oz.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin $1.50 for 1 oz
  • 1 tsp chili powder $1.50 for 1 oz.
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon $1.50 for 1 oz.
  • 8 oz Greek-style (thick) yogurt $1.50
  • 5 tbsp butter $1 for a stick
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste $1
  • 1 15-oz. can chopped tomatoes $1.50
  • 1 tbsp honey Pantry
  • 4 cardamom pods (crush pods slightly to release seeds and more flavor) $1
  • 1 cup heavy cream $1.50 for a half-pint
  • 1 tsp salt Pantry
  • pepper to taste Pantry
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped $1 for a bunch
Total Cost of Ingredients $19


Combine chicken, garlic, spices (other than cardamom) and yogurt and mix well. Refrigerate in a covered container for at least 30 minutes (or as long as overnight).

In a tagine or other heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat,, melt butter. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, honey and cardamom. Stir well. Bring to a light boil and reduce to medium-low to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick (15-20 minutes)

Add chicken and cream and stir well Continue to simmer for another 18-20 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked and very tender and sauce is creamy and thick.

Serve hot, garnished with cilantro.

Serves 4.

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What They're Saying

Indian cooking noob, on Jul 30, 10:28 PM, wrote:

Hi, sounds delicious. Could I ask a noob question…do you drain the chopped tomatoes or just allow liquid to reduce in the pan? Also, other recipes suggest garam masala or ginger paste…what do you think?

Gabi Moskowitz, on Aug 1, 12:09 PM, wrote:

Definitely don’t drain the tomatoes—they add great moisture to the dish. Garam masala is nice but can be pricey and I like the flavor combination here very much, but if you have some garam masala, use it instead of the curry powder. As for ginger paste, it’s just fresh ginger. Grate your own—much cheaper and tastier! Thanks for reading BAG! – GM

Matt, on Aug 7, 07:04 PM, wrote:

This was absolutely awesome!! Had for dinner tonight with some brown rice and nan. My wife who isn’t really into Indian really enjoyed it also!!

Thanks for the recipe!!

Tara, on Sep 4, 03:01 PM, wrote:

Hi, Gabi! Thanks for the delicious recipe. I’m going to make it this week, but all I have is cardamom seeds. How many seeds do I need instead of the pods? Thanks!

Weston, on Sep 19, 07:34 PM, wrote:

Gabi, a frequent but previously silent reader checking in. Made this tonight and it was absolutely phenomenal—a healthy squirt of Sriracha and a squirt of lime punched it up nicely and had my fraternity kitchen smelling like Indian bliss. Thanks for this recipe—super easy and thoroughly delicious.

Best wishes!