Sous Vide Butter Chicken

I don’t often cook Indian food at home and I don’t often consider something called “butter chicken” Indian food. But the Bob loves the stuff. And then I recently tried the version from Rasika – which was very good.

Then, last weekend the NYT cooking newsletter showed up in my inbox and Sam Sifton had a butter chicken recipe with bone in chicken thighs and ground nuts. Ok well that’s like the murg makhani that my grandmother makes. So I decided to give it a shot.

Since I had promised Bob his favorite Indian restaurant food I decided to go with boneless chicken. But boneless skinless breasts that most restaurants use are dry even if simmered in cream. Instead I made a yogurt and spice marinade and tossed cut up thighs into the sous vide for 2 hours.

While they were cooking I sautéed a red onion in butter until soft and slightly brown. I added some garlic, ginger, san marzano tomatoes, tomato paste, turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek, 2 black cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick (fished out before serving), ground cumin, and chili powder. (I didn’t have a fresh chili which would have been preferable).

All of this is just to taste, so experiment because it will depend on the strength and freshness of your spices. I let it cook (adding water if it looked too dry – while the sous vide did it’s magic on the chicken). I fired off the chicken when it was ready, stirred the yogurt marinade into the curry, added a dollop (more than a dollop) of heavy cream, some cilantro and sliced scallions. I say bring it on Vikram Sundaram!

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I served this with leftover palak paneer with home made paneer and naan and rice from the local Indian joint (it’s just way easier that way).

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Tip on the plain rice: reheat it in the microwave with really good butter and saffron on top, it’s divine.

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Oh and if you don’t have a sous vide machine I say use thighs and leave the bone in, tender chicken really is key here.

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