I really wrestled with what to call this. It is not quite the sauce used to make Butter Chicken. I consulted various versions at length, though; and if you cooked chicken in it and called it Butter Chicken it wouldn’t be the stupidest thing anyone has ever said. I was aiming for something a little more lightly spiced, but with plenty of verve, and I wanted some vegetables.
If I made this again with chicken – and I very well may – I would use boneless pieces, and mix the yogurt and sour cream into the paste the day before cooking, and let it marinate in the fridge. Then I would melt the butter and scrape the whole mess in to cook. I can see putting this on fish too, but in that case I would cook the fish separately and pour the sauce over it.
I’m saying this serves 4, because it really should, but 3 of us fell on this like starving jackals and finished with licking the bowl.
45 minutes prep time
Make the Paste:
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
3 or 4 pods of green cardamom
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or similar)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a few scrapes of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chick pea flour
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Peel and finely grate the ginger and garlic into a small mixing bowl. Crush the cardamom, and extract the papery hulls. Grind the remaining seed and add it to the bowl, along with the rest of the seasonings and the chick pea flour. Mix well.
Mix in the tomato paste, vinegar, and honey until smooth and well-blended.
Cook the Sauce & Vegetables:
500 grams (1 pound) vegetables of choice, about3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup yogurt
Wash, trim, and chop your vegetables in advance; I used yellow beans, cabbage, and an onion. I can also see this with snap peas or cauliflower. Put a pot of water on to boil or steam them, and start them cooking at the appropriate time – it will take about 20 minutes for the sauce to cook.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the prepared paste and cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes.
Stir in the sour cream and yogurt, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth and thickened. Don’t worry if the dairy products look a bit curdled early on; the sauce will smooth out again as it cooks. If the sauce wants to stick to the pan, reduce the heat a little more.
When the sauce is ready and the vegetables are cooked, drain the vegetables very well and toss them with the sauce. Serve at once, with rice or pasta.