Preparation / Directions:
Murgh Makhani, or Butter Chicken, is a classic Punjabi dish - and Simi's India Cuisine chef Amarjit Singh prepares this dish in typical, lavish Mogul fashion. Both butter and cream enrich this tomato-based sauce, while the touch of hot chile adds minimal heat to the dish. For a lighter version, you might try using buttermilk in place of all or part of the cream.
Chef Singh tells us this dish is classically made with leftover tandoori chicken, although he shares an alternative marinade and method for cooking the chicken. You can approximate the heat of the tandoor oven at home on the grill or in a 500-degree oven ... The sauce is nearly effortless - cook down the tomatoes early in the day, and finish it off just before serving time. The chef reminds us of the importance of that final sprinkling of fresh cilantro, and suggests serving the chicken with rice or Indian bread such as naan. For a vegetable, try a simple green bean or cauliflower dish.
Source: Simi's India Cuisine restaurant.
If you have leftover tandoori chicken, bone and cut into small chunks, and set aside until sauce is prepared. Otherwise, begin from scratch and rub chicken pieces with garlic, ginger and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate; marinate at least 10 hours or overnight.
To roast: Preheat oven to 500 degrees at least 1/2 hour before using. Set the chicken pieces in a shallow pan and roast 15 minutes on the first side, about 10 minutes on the second.
To grill: Brush grill with a bit of oil to prevent sticking. Place chicken pieces over extremely hot bed of coals and grill for 15 minutes on one side, and another 10 minutes on the other. Baste once on each side.
To make sauce: In a wok or heavy skillet, simmer the tomatoes gently until their liquid evaporates, leaving a thick paste. This will take about 10 minutes. (The tomatoes can be cooked earlier in the day and refrigerated.) Add the butter, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and the chile, then add the chicken pieces. Simmer gently 5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a heated serving dish, and garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve with rice or any Indian bread.
Makes about 4 to 5 serving