Butter Chicken/murgh makhani origins and different ingredients

Windigo

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I read somewhere that fenugreek seeds were a key ingredient - yet looking at the recipes for it on an Indian recipe site I found several didn't include them. In fact, the recipes are very varied. Several using nuts use them as a garnish rather than to make the sauce creamy.
I guess it's just like gravy and other sauces, every experienced cook does it just a little different to show their own signature
 

karadekoolaid

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Hungry Man´s recipe is interesting. Obviously the Tandoori Masala mix is going to add colour to the chicken, and the cashews & cream will make the dish richer. I don´t see the point of adding honey, to be honest, or the white vinegar; I´d rather omit the first and use full fat yoghurt instead of cream, thus eliminating the second, but everyone to their own.
The other thing I do ( which is probably obsessive, but never mind:hyper:) is grind ALL my own spices. So my garam masala is a mix I developed over the years; cumin and coriander are ground to order. I use ghee when ever I can - and I make that too.
 

rascal

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My grandkids think my butter chicken is better than shop bought, mine is a mixture of a few recipes. No nuts involved.
I do malai kofta for my wife which has whole and ground cashews.
I also use in a korma.
Just my kiwi .2 cents worth

Russ
Hungry Man´s recipe is interesting. Obviously the Tandoori Masala mix is going to add colour to the chicken, and the cashews & cream will make the dish richer. I don´t see the point of adding honey, to be honest, or the white vinegar; I´d rather omit the first and use full fat yoghurt instead of cream, thus eliminating the second, but everyone to their own.
The other thing I do ( which is probably obsessive, but never mind:hyper:) is grind ALL my own spices. So my garam masala is a mix I developed over the years; cumin and coriander are ground to order. I use ghee when ever I can - and I make that too.

Same here.

Russ
 

rascal

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Out of interest, I just checked a number of recipes on an Indian recipe site for Butter Chicken/murgh makhani. There were a few which contained nuts but most didn't. Apparently the dish was 'invented' in Delhi in the 1950's. If the story here is to be believed, the original didn't have nuts. I think it probably simply evolved in different ways, given that it is a world wide Indian restaurant dish.

The Butter Chicken Story - Shafali

Also here: What’s so Special About Butter Chicken, One of India’s Favorite Dishes?

That was also my understanding of how it came about.

Russ
 

karadekoolaid

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So here´s an interesting bit of history. Although Indian "curries" were popular in the UK in the 19th century, the origin of the "Curry House" began in the 60s and 70s, and they were not started by Indian nationals, but rather by Bangladeshis. Today, over 70% of all Curry Houses in the UK are Bangladeshi-owned.
One extremely bright guy decided to standardize the menu. He offered hot (vindaloo), medium (Madras) and mild (Korma); chicken, beef, prawns. The sauces were all prepared and had simple "additions" to make what ever dish you wanted: vindaloo, dhansak, jalfrezi, patia, bhoona..the paradox is that they were "Indian" dishes prepared by Bangladeshis. When I was young(er), no Friday or Saturday night was complete without a "curry" after a skinful in the pub (which closed at 10.30 or 11pm).
The only place I knew in London in the 70s which served authentic (South) Indian food was a place in the Strand. It wasn´t until 2001, when Chutney Mary opened in Chelsea, that real, authentic Indian cuisine became available.
And the other odd fact is that Indian markets make loads of curry powder - for export. No self-respecting Indian cook would use curry powder!
 
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So here´s an interesting bit of history. Although Indian "curries" were popular in the UK in the 19th century, the origin of the "Curry House" began in the 60s and 70s, and they were not started by Indian nationals, but rather by Bangladeshis. Today, over 70% of all Curry Houses in the UK are Bangladeshi-owned.
We're very lucky where I live that most of the curry houses are owned by Nepalese, which means we get a little more variety than you find in many places :D

A bit painstaking, perhaps, but worth every minute.Recipe Homemade Ghee
How does it compare to commercially produced ghee? I use a lot of ghee, but I confess I can't be bothered to make my own so I just buy it.
 

garlichead

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So here´s an interesting bit of history. Although Indian "curries" were popular in the UK in the 19th century, the origin of the "Curry House" began in the 60s and 70s, and they were not started by Indian nationals, but rather by Bangladeshis. Today, over 70% of all Curry Houses in the UK are Bangladeshi-owned.
One extremely bright guy decided to standardize the menu. He offered hot (vindaloo), medium (Madras) and mild (Korma); chicken, beef, prawns. The sauces were all prepared and had simple "additions" to make what ever dish you wanted: vindaloo, dhansak, jalfrezi, patia, bhoona..the paradox is that they were "Indian" dishes prepared by Bangladeshis. When I was young(er), no Friday or Saturday night was complete without a "curry" after a skinful in the pub (which closed at 10.30 or 11pm).
The only place I knew in London in the 70s which served authentic (South) Indian food was a place in the Strand. It wasn´t until 2001, when Chutney Mary opened in Chelsea, that real, authentic Indian cuisine became available.
And the other odd fact is that Indian markets make loads of curry powder - for export. No self-respecting Indian cook would use curry powder!
The spice market in Delhi's old city was magical. Bought 2 masala dabba's (stainless spice box) there for 200 baht each. The Indian women lined up for the freshly ground turmeric. Apparently it's notorious to find filler in premade turmeric, so they wait and get it fresh from the market. The electricity that fed each shop meandered through the streets like jungle vines was crazy thick and all twisted, it felt you were inside something mechanical while walking down the street.

For my Murgh Makhani I marinate in a tandoori yogurt, usually overnight and I use butter and cream and I've also use ground cashews once in a while, but normally I don't.

In your recipe, which I like very much you add the garam masala into your gravy when you add the chicken back in to be cooked through. I've noticed a graininess and rawness when spices have been added near the end of cooking and when just added to a liquid. Just an observation and not a criticism, everyone does things there own way.
 
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karadekoolaid

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In your recipe, which I like very much you add the garam masala into your gravy when you add the chicken back in to be cooked through. I've noticed a graininess and rawness when spices have been added near the end of cooking and when just added to a liquid. Just an observation and not a criticism, everyone does things there own way.
Good point and your observation duly noted. Thank goodness we don´t all do things the same way!
I used to add Garam Masala at the beginning. Then, several events persuaded me that it was a "finishing" spice. The first was a video I watched from an Indian chef known as " Va Reh Vah" - love his videos! Then I had a Food Course where we invited the Indian Chargé d´Affairs and his wife, and they both said they preferred the garam masala towards the end of cooking, so as to preserve its special flavours of "hot" spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, etc. When I thought about it, it made sense, so that´s what I began to do.
But as you said - everyone to their own - it´s all about being happy with the final dish.
 

Morning Glory

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Good point and your observation duly noted. Thank goodness we don´t all do things the same way!
I used to add Garam Masala at the beginning. Then, several events persuaded me that it was a "finishing" spice. The first was a video I watched from an Indian chef known as " Va Reh Vah" - love his videos! Then I had a Food Course where we invited the Indian Chargé d´Affairs and his wife, and they both said they preferred the garam masala towards the end of cooking, so as to preserve its special flavours of "hot" spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, etc. When I thought about it, it made sense, so that´s what I began to do.
But as you said - everyone to their own - it´s all about being happy with the final dish.

Yes, I've always thought it was a finishing spice (although not necessarily exclusively). I am not sure when and how I learned this but I think it was from an Indian source.
 

garlichead

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Good point and your observation duly noted. Thank goodness we don´t all do things the same way!
I used to add Garam Masala at the beginning. Then, several events persuaded me that it was a "finishing" spice. The first was a video I watched from an Indian chef known as " Va Reh Vah" - love his videos! Then I had a Food Course where we invited the Indian Chargé d´Affairs and his wife, and they both said they preferred the garam masala towards the end of cooking, so as to preserve its special flavours of "hot" spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, etc. When I thought about it, it made sense, so that´s what I began to do.
But as you said - everyone to their own - it´s all about being happy with the final dish.
For sure, we all have preferences based on our experiences and results and like I said, each to their own. I suspect that if a spice blend in general is added more towards the end the spices would be more detectable, and nothing wrong with that.

Most of my blends will have different combinations of spices depending on the regions I'm trying to replicate and most of the spices you've mentioned are in pretty much all my blends in some combination or another. It's the combination that makes the difference and of course which spices are used. I make my own garam masala mix as well.

The grind size and cooking time will have some effect on the palatability and I guess it was my belief that finishing the chicken after it's initial cooking and considering it was breast would be very quick and in my mind led to the belief that the garam would be grainy, especially considering there's a good proportion of corriander and cumin in a garam masala which in my experience needs to cooked longer to meld out the harshness and graininess especially when suspended in a liquid for a minimal amount of time. These were my thought and i make enough curries to choke most of the people in my community, so I will give your technique a go. I don't want to miss out in any taste opportunity especially in a curry. Cheers.
 

Morning Glory

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I don't want to miss out in any taste opportunity especially in a curry.

Slightly off topic but talking of taste opportunity in curry, have you or karadekoolaid come across stone flower? I discovered it fairly recently and its adds quite a different and intriguing dimension. Its also known as dagar phool or kalpasi.
 
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