For the ginger-garlic paste:
1 part fresh ginger, skin scraped off and flesh chopped
2 parts garlic, peeled and chopped (by volume)
For the butter chicken:
2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsp garam masala
600g skinless boneless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp butter
½ tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
6 tbsp tomato purée
4 tbsp condensed milk
First, make the ginger-garlic paste. Combine the ginger and garlic. If you are making a small amount, you can grate both or crush them using a pestle and mortar. You don’t need to discard the green ‘soul’ from the centre of the garlic; it is edible and any bitterness it has will add to the balance of flavours in the overall dish. If making a larger amount, blitz the peeled and chopped ginger and garlic in a blender, along with a little cold water to turn the blades and make a smooth paste.
You can store this paste in the fridge or freezer. Put it into a clean jam jar, top it up with oil (any cooking oil) and put it in the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. You will find that the oil layer may decrease with each scoop of paste used—just top it up as necessary.
To freeze the paste, either put it into ice cube trays, cover it with clingfilm and store in the freezer for up to 3 months, or put it into a freezer bag, lay this on a metal tray and freeze it flat. It becomes quite brittle and you can snap off as much as you need for each recipe. While ginger-garlic cubes need thawing, the bits broken off from a flat sheet can be added directly to the pan.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Sprinkle 1 tsp each of the chilli powder and garam masala over the chicken pieces in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste and season with salt. Mix well, then add 1 tbsp sunflower oil and mix again.
Transfer the chicken pieces to a baking tray and spread them out in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins until white and hot all the way through when you cut a piece in half.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the butter and the remaining oil in a saucepan until the butter has melted. Add the remaining ginger-garlic paste and fry on a high heat for 30 secs, then add the kasoori methi and fry for a few secs. Stir in the remaining chilli powder and garam masala and fry for a few secs. Pour in 4 tbsp cold water and bring to the boil. Cook on a medium heat until the water has evaporated.
Add the tomato purée and cook for 3-4 mins until blended, then pour in 150ml cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 mins. The sauce should be of a thick, pouring consistency.
Mix the condensed milk with 100ml warm water and add to the sauce. Season with salt, bring up to the boil, then fold in the hot cooked chicken.
Recipe: Monisha Bharadwaj from Indian in Seven (Kyle Books)