Saturday, August 16, 2008

Boneless Butter Chicken

When I was in junior college, Pirangut (which is now almost in city limits) used to be a destination for day trips. En route, one could drive for miles of lush paddy fields and open land on both sides of the road, the monotony broken only by a lake, a river or the occasional small body of water. You would have to slow down sometimes as herds of sheep walked alongside the road, blocking most of it. Village folk sat under the shade of tamarind trees waiting for the greatest form of rural transportation—the S.T. bus, known to most of the junta as the Laal Dabba (red tin can). The road took you straight to the village of Mulshi, where the Mulshi dam is located. There is a village on the way named Disli. In Marathi, Disli means “I see it.” The reason it is so named is that as you take a turn to enter the limits of Disli, you can see the walls of the massive dam for the first time. Just before the village of Disli is the village of Pirangut and also the home of one my favourite joints, Buninda Dhaba. It had just opened up when we started visiting Buninda. It was essentially a poorly built structure with a huge swimming pool, a garden restaurant, a children’s playground that would require tetanus shots and for some reason, a large number of ducks just hanging out. It was a nice place to go to, especially when parents thought you were busy at college busy attending classes and getting a good education. The food there was always good. However, as college students, money was always in short supply and the newly liberated college students would prefer to allocate more funds to spirits than waste it on food. After a good afternoon of drinking when it’s time to eat, it is common practice to order a couple of pots of boneless butter chicken with a stack of rotis. Thankfully, the butter chicken at buninda was exceptional.

1 1/2lb whole boneless Chicken breast cubed
1 large Onions finely chopped.
2 Tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick butter
1 tsp grated Ginger
1 tsp crushed Garlic
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 1/2 cup Chicken stock
Salt to taste

For marinade
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 tsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste

Mix all the items for the marinade and coat the chicken with it.
Allow it to marinate overnight.
Grill chicken till it is done and the marinade crisp.
Remove chicken in a bowl and place aside.

Heat 1/2 stick of butter in a pot and add ginger and garlic to it.
Add chopped onions and stir occasionally till onion is translucent brown on the edges.
Add tomato, stir and allow to cook for a few minutes
Add chili, turmeric, garam masala and salt, stir and allow to cook for a couple of minutes
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil and continue heating on low heat till tomato and onion have almost dissolved.
Remove sauce and blend it in a blender with heavy cream
Return sauce to the pot and gently fold in the grilled chicken and the remaining butter and allow it to cook on low heat for 10-15 min
Serve with rice and naan