It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Butter chicken and more

Butter Chicken
for 4 – 6 people

This recipe game from Stephanie O’Dell’s crockpot blog, but I don’t do it in a crockpot (much as I love mine), because I find that chicken cooks down to really disgusting texture-free goo in the crockpot.

chicken, one thigh (no back attached) per person
1 onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped (not too fine)
15 cardamom pods (see below)
2 teaspoons (10 g) curry powder
1/2 t (3 g) ground cayenne
2 teaspoons (10 g) garam masala
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) ground ginger
1 can (13.5 ounces/400 mL) coconut milk
155 mL (5.5 oz) can tomato paste
4 tablespoons (60 g) butter
2 tablespoons (30 g) lemon juice
1 cup (250 g) plain yoghurt


Re: cardamom pods: you don’t want these things floating loose in the broth. They’re rubbery and splintery to bite into, most unpleasant. So, you either stitch them together, which is a pain, frankly, or you put them in a muslin or cheesecloth bag. If your kitchen is like mine, you don’t own a muslin or cheesecloth bag. SOOOO, what you do, if you’re brilliant and creative, like me, is take a teabag and snip on corner off (or, in my case, on teeny sliver of the round), tip the tea out (or into a teapot), and fill with cardamom pods. Fold the teabag closed, and secure with a twist-tie. You’ll still need to fish it out before you eat, but it’s way easier to find than 15 small seedpods!

Word to the wise: use solid metal twist-tie. You don’t want melted plastic or paper bits in your broth!

1. Roast chicken. I do this the day before, and remove meat from bones in largish chunks. I suspect you could just cook the meat in with everything else… it’s just that I’ve never done it that way, so I don’t know!

2. Preheat oven to 275F (135C).

3. Put everything but the meat and the yoghurt into a casserole dish with a lid. Stir. It doesn’t matter if the butter is solid — it’ll melt soon enough!

4. Cover and bake for two hours, then, stir, add the chicken and continue to cook (covered) for another hour.

5. Stir in the yoghurt just before serving. (I admit I forget this half the time. It’s still perfectly delicious, but it would be creamier and not quite so spicy with the yoghurt in!)

Serve with rice or naan.

(I’ve served this to the tots before, and they all like it. Theirs always gets the yoghurt, and is served over rice, which makes it milder. I find that kids are far more tolerant of spices than we often give them credit for.)

I don’t recall where I found this recipe, which I’ve altered substantially, anyway.
Cucumber salad with lime-pepper dressing

3 English cucumbers, cut into 1/2 cm cubes. (Slice them lengthwise first, then again, so you have 12 or so long skinny sorta-rectangular strips. Then slice across the stack of strips to make bunches of cubes.)

1 tomato, coarsely chopped (skin and seeds and all)

1 onion, sliced into thin rings (I usually slice the rings in half)

(If serving as vegetarian entree, add 1 can chickpeas.)


1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and thin-sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
3 tablespoons (45g) chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons (45ml) oil
4 tablespoons (60ml) lime juice
fresh-ground pepper to taste

Toss all dressing ingredients into a blender and whirl until as smooth as it’s going to get. (It’ll have green flecks.)

Pour the dressing over the vegetables, stir, then sit in fridge for at least an hour.

And this one comes from Extending the Table, a fabulous source of delicious recipes!

Spicy Cauliflower

Put into blender:
1 cup onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped

Blend it up. Add a small sploosh of water as needed to get it to form into a goopy paste. Leave it in blender while you do the next bit:

Preheat oven to 350F (185C)

Put into casserole:
4 medium tomatoes, cut into thin slices
3/4 cup green beans (the recipe calls for peas, but I like beans better. Use peas if you prefer!)
1/2 t (3g) cayenne
1 t (5g) turmeric
1 t (5g) salt
1 medium cauliflower, cut up into florets. (You can use the stalks, too.)

Pour the contents of the blender over the vegetables in the casserole dish. Add 1/4 cup of water.

Cook, covered, for 30 – 40 minutes until the cauliflower is as soft as you prefer it. I left it for an hour, and it was too mooshy for my taste — but still tasted good! (And no, I wouldn’t seriously expect many of the kids to enjoy this, but they’d all be expected to try a bite, just to see! Emily, though? Emily LOVES spicy!)

February 18, 2010 - Posted by | food | , , , , , , ,


  1. I love butter chicken! We eat it at our favourite restaurant and cook it at home too. Technically, you can’t have onion in butter chicken sauce and you also need to marinate the chicken in spices, but then each one adapts the recipe to their liking. I for one love adding choped tomatoes and onions to it. Sure the buttery texture is not the same, but I love the taste. Also, love eating it with soured cream, YUM! Well, I guess I know what;s for dinner today xx

    Comment by Nat | February 18, 2010 | Reply

  2. I love cardamon pods – when I’ve cooked them in a dish, I squeeze out the seeds and eat them – wonderfully aromatic.

    Comment by Z | February 18, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thanks! I’m going to try the butter chix, though it may be beyond me…I’m not sure what a cardomon pod is, so finding that in the store shall be the first challenge.

    Comment by Raia | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  4. Two things. Well, three things. First: YUM. Second: you can use coffee filters in place of muslin or cheesecloth. Just tie it with twine or thread or unflavored, unwaxed dental floss. Third: skinless, bone-IN (NOT boneless) chicken breasts do well in the crock pot, as long as the cooking time isn’t more than five to six hours and it’s on low, not high.

    I can’t wait to make this!

    Comment by Candace | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  5. I had butter chicken for the first time just last week at an indian restaurant and I could have eaten quarts of the stuff. Awesome. Thanks for this.

    Comment by Bridgett | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  6. […] Butter chicken, […]

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  8. I use this recipe for Butter Chicken: . Cook the sauce for several hours, then puree the sauce (you wouldn’t need to do that with your recipe), then throw the chicken in the crock with the sauce and cook for a few more hours. Voila, slow-cooked sauce for that deep rich goodness, and chicken that is tender and cooked in that yummy sauce but not overcooked and dry. 🙂 A note for anyone who follows that link to the recipe I use: that is the very best butter chicken in the world, but the recipe says to only cook the chicken for 30-40 minutes. In my experience, it needs more like 2-3 hours to cook all the way through.

    Comment by mamadragon | October 2, 2012 | Reply

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