1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to suit your taste)
1″ stick of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
Seeds from 3-4 pods of cardamom
1 cup fresh yoghurt (must not be sour)
3 tbsps vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil
2 onions chopped
2 tsps garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsps coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
400g/ 14 oz of chopped tomatoes, ground into a smooth paste in a food processor
1/2 litre chicken stock
2 tbsps kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
3 tbsps unmelted, soft butter
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Mix the chicken, lime juice, salt and red chilli powder in a large, non-metallic bowl. Cover and allow to marinate for 1 hour.
Heat a flat pan or griddle on medium heat and gently roast (stirring frequently) the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and almonds till they darken slightly. Cool and add the cardamom seeds. Now grind into a coarse powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder.
Mix the yoghurt, above whole spice powder (from previous step), coriander, cumin and turmeric powders together and add them to the chicken. Allow to marinate for another hour.
Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium heat. When hot, add the onions. Fry till a pale golden brown in color and then add the ginger and garlic pastes. Fry for a minute.
Add only the chicken from the chicken-spice mix and fry till sealed (chicken will turn opaque and the flesh will go from pink to whitish in color).
Now add the tomato paste, chicken stock, kasuri methi and remaining part of the yogurt-spice mix to the chicken.
Cook till the chicken is tender and the gravy is reduced to half its original volume.
Melt the butter in another small pan and then pour it over the chicken.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Naan.
For an authentic and traditional cooked-over-the-coals flavour: When the Butter Chicken is cooked, make a small bowl shape with aluminum foil and place it on top of the curry (‘floating’ on it). Heat a briquette of charcoal on an open flame till red hot and gently put the charcoal in to the aluminum foil bowl. Cover the dish immediately. Remove the cover just before serving, discard the foil bowl and charcoal and serve. The curry will be infused with a smokey flavor!