Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)
Why This Recipe Works
Butter chicken (murgh makhani) should taste rich and creamy but also vibrant and complex, so we started by softening lots of onion, garlic, ginger, and chile in butter followed by aromatic spices such as garam masala, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. Instead of chopped or crushed tomatoes, we opted for a hefty portion of tomato paste and water, which lent the sauce bright acidity, punch, and deep color without making it too liquid-y. A full cup of cream gave the sauce lush, velvety body, and we finished it by whisking in a couple more tablespoons of solid butter for extra richness. To imitate the deep charring produced by a tandoor oven, we broiled chicken thighs coated in yogurt (its milk proteins and lactose brown quickly and deeply) before cutting them into chunks and stirring them into the sauce.