Woah, what a spread! Did you know that Butter Chicken is actually the one of the easiest curries to make? Short ingredient list and you can get everything from the supermarket – and this is a CHEF recipe! The sauce is ridiculously delicious, I want it on tap!
Do you remember when I went on my Cuban bender earlier this year, inspired by the movie Chef? I made Mojo Marinated Pork and Cubanos (Cuban Pork Sandwiches, still officially the BEST sandwich I have ever made!)
Well! This time it’s Indian! When an advance copy of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel landed on my lap, I jumped on it because I loved the first one, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Have you seen it? It’s hilarious. It sounds weird describing it – a group of British retirees moving to live their golden years in a somewhat run down Indian hotel. It was a huge hit! And the sequel is just as good!! Even the name had me smiling. The “Second” best? What…?
The cast is really surprising – big names including Judi Dench (007!), Dev Patel (the main character in Slumdog Millionaire), Maggie Smith (from Harry Potter!!), and – get this – Richard Gere!
When it comes to feel good movies, there’s a fine line between corny and sentimental and this movie stays on the right side of that line. You can’t help but be drawn in by the festivities of the wedding around which the movie is centred. Indian weddings are a kaleidoscope of colour and an extravaganza that is no comparison to any wedding I’ve attended!
PS In case you are wondering….YES that is Richard Gere hitting up the dance floor with his Bollywood moves!
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is totally “my kind” of movie. I’m not into heavy or depressing, sci-fi, thrillers or horror. I’m a total wuss. I actually have nightmares after watching scary movies. Seriously. The last “scary” movie I saw at the cinema was I Am Legend and I was so angry with my friend who told me it was an action movie, but in fact it was a thriller and I spent most of the movie curled up in a ball on the seat with my hands over my eyes.
And I had “end of the world” nightmares for days afterwards.
In my downtime, I like entertaining, light hearted movies. Preferably comedies, but not ridiculous ones like American Pie (cringe!). So The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and good food is my idea of a perfect Friday movie night. And how much more fitting than to create an Indian feast that is perfect couch food?
(PS My definition of couch food is food you can eat with a spoon without taking your eyes off the TV)
As much as I love making Indian food at home, sometimes I find the list of ingredients daunting! It’s easy enough to make once I gather all the ingredients, but that’s where I usually fall short because it requires a trip to an Indian grocery store.
Butter chicken is one of the few exceptions. I was elated when I discovered a Chef recipe for butter chicken and realised how easy it is. But more importantly, you can get all the ingredients from any supermarket. Yes!
And of course, to make a proper Indian feast, the sides are essentials. Because every curry needs bread to scoop up the sauce with, right? I was going to make naan, but the couch was calling me so I made my fast and Easy No Yeast Flatbread instead. Try telling me this doesn’t look like it belongs in this feast!
And the finishing touch was a pile of papadums that took me all of 2 minutes to make in the microwave. It’s ridiculously easy plus the added benefit of being fat free. All you need to do is place the papadums around the edge of the microwave turntable and cook on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute or until they are puffed up. They’ll be soft while warm but as soon as they cool down, they crisp up.
I hope this has inspired you to try your hand at making an Indian feast at home! You will honestly be amazed how much depth of flavour there is in the Butter Chicken despite how few ingredients are in it.
And if you want to go all the way like I did, make it an Indian Movie Night In with The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie! Scroll down below the recipe to see the trailer and get the movie!
– Nagi x
- ½ cup plain yoghurt, full fat
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp tumeric powder
- 2 tsp garam masala (Note 1)
- ½ tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper powder (Note 2)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1.5 lb / 750 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee (Note 3)
- 1 cup tomato passata or puree (also known as Tomato Sauce in America) (Note 4)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup cream (full fat or light) OR for a lighter version use ¾ cup light cream + ¼ cup milk (low fat) (I used this)
- Coriander/cilantro (optional)
- Optional step: for an extra smooth sauce, combine the Marinade ingredients (except the chicken) in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Combine the Marinade ingredients with the chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
- Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large fry pan. Add the chicken coated in the Marinade and cook for around 3 minutes, or until the chicken is white all over (it doesn't really brown because of the Marinade).
- Add the tomato passata, sugar and salt. Turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Do a taste test to see if it needs more salt. Stir through the cream, then remove from heat.
- Garnish with coriander/cilantro leaves if using. Serve with basmati rice.
- The Butter Chicken is pictured with my very easy No Yeast Flatbread and no-fry papadums (Note 5).
2. This is not chili powder as Americans know it! American Chili Powder contains things other than ground dried chili. Use pure chili powder or cayenne pepper to add a spice kick. The spiciness is very mild.
3. Ghee is a clarified butter used in Indian cooking. It can be substituted with almost any cooking oil, or even butter (but cooking oil is better as it doesn't brown).
4. Tomato passata is just pureed tinned tomatoes. Nowadays it is readily available in supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces. It costs just a tiny bit more, sometimes the same, as canned tomatoes. If you can't find it, puree canned tomatoes.
5. To make papadums, just place store bought raw papadums (which are really cheap - around $1 for a packet) in the microwave on the edge of the turntable. Then microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until puffed up. They will crisp up when they cool.
6. Adapted from a recipe by Luke Mangan, a famous Australian chef. The only adjustments I made was to add salt (I am sure it was inadvertently omitted from his recipe) and providing the lighter option for the cream.
Nutrition assuming 4 servings.
This post was sponsored by Twentieth Century Fox who provided me with an advance copy of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. To get the digital version from iTunes: