Come smell my pot: Butter Chicken

This is the mountain man’s new favorite dinner.

Old favorite dinners include:

  • lasagna
  • marsala chicken
  • noodles with sardines
  • chicken and dumplings
  • shepherd’s pie
  • lamb
  • probably some other stuff, too. He likes to eat.

I found a butter chicken recipe by P-Dub, but it needed some fixin’. Not really fixin’, just… more.

So here’s my take on P-Dub’s take on what is probably every Indian restaurant’s best selling dinner.

Marinate these ingredients in a zip-top bag for 12-24 hours. Squish everything around occasionally.

    • 4-5 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 2+ tbsp mojo de ajo – use mostly garlic, not much oil 
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 2 tsp ground coriander
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp cardamom
    • juice from 1 whole juicy lime

 DSC_0555 DSC_0559DSC_0561 DSC_0566 

Other stuff

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 8 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms (can be omitted if you don’t eat mushrooms)
  • 1 bag/box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (also optional, but come on now, you need some veggies)
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (or use two of these and omit the can tomato sauce)
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 cup (more is optional) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into a few pieces and chilled
  • cilantro
  • prepared quinoa

After marinating the chicken, heat a swirl of olive oil in  a sauce pan. Sauté the onion. Add mushrooms and spinach, let them cook for a minute. DSC_0593

Squish all the chicken and sauciness from the bag into the pan and cook over medium heat, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. DSC_0595

Add the tomato stuff and let it go, covered, for at least 30 minutes on medium low or low heat. (Slow & low is definitely better.) DSC_0596 

Reduce heat to low & add heavy cream – start slow and see how much you think you need to make a rich sauce. I like to use just about 1 cup. If the spices are too strong for you, you can add more cream. Stir the cream in well and let it cook on low for a minute. Add the sumac and stir well. Add the cold sliced butter and stir it into the sauce until it melts. DSC_0610Taste it and add more spices (I usually add more of everything), until you can’t stop tasting it. STOP TASTING IT. There won’t be any left for dinner.

Serve over cooked quinoa, couscous or rice with chopped fresh cilantro.

I like to have roasted zucchini with it.

The mountain man adds more cayenne.

You could make this with pretty much any meat, or even with tofu, although the cooking time would be different. If using tofu: marinate the tofu, fry it lightly and then make the sauce separately, adding the tofu to your dish.

I didn’t go to the store for cilantro, so we were missing out this time.DSC_0617

This is a recipe that allows for a lot of play with the spices until it’s right for you. Enjoy!


  1. Yum, butter chicken is so yummy, although I've never tried to make it myself. I'm interested to try quinoa too, so many people seem to be using it.

  2. I'd never tried to make it myself either, until this month! I guess I always thought there was some kind of secret Indianness to it that I couldn't ever replicate. But I've played with it, having it once a week this month to test it out, and we love it! (I always need to add more spices, but I know some people will like it milder!) Enjoy, and let me know how it goes! (BTW, quinoa is great. It's expensive compared to rice, but worth trying!)


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