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Saturday, 23 February 2008

butter chicken (WHB#121: coriander leaf)

go directly to the recipe

recipe: butter chicken, with links to Indian vegetable recipes (including palak paneer), Flatbread recipes (including naan), and Indian chicken recipes (including Tandoori chicken)

Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB) #121
Coriander Leaf (Coriadrum sativum)

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

butter chicken My sister emailed today asking for T’s butter chicken recipe. And my first impulse was to sneer and mutter “Why didn’t you just search our online recipes to find it?” But after rolling my eyes and going into the recipe site and then the blog and then googling… well… ummmm… I hope my sister will accept my abject apologies for the sneering and eye-rolling.

I CAN’T believe that we haven’t got butter chicken in our online files! And I can’t believe that I haven’t raved about it here. Quel oversight! And my sister said that I sent her the instructions last summer. But I can’t find it anywhere on my computer either. Good thing T had it in a text file on his computer!

I searched through the folders of photos waiting to be processed and found some from June of last year (!) when there was no snow in the back yard. I found a number of other photos as well…. Clearly, I am a bad food blogger. I’d like to say that I’ll mend my ways and become incredibly organized. But let’s get real. I’ll just keep blundering along, knowing that someone like my sister will nudge me back into line every so often.

Here’s what T does to make fabulous butter chicken:

T’s Butter Chicken
As with so many of T’s recipes, there are no measurements. You’ll just have to wing it.

  • whole dried cayenne chili
  • vegetable oil
  • cumin seeds
  • kalonji OR mustard seeds (optional)
  • onion, chopped
  • butter
  • tomato paste
  • cream
  • seasalt (or chicken stock powder)
  • Tandoori chicken


  1. Blacken a chili in oil.
  2. Add cumin seeds and other spice if using, and fry til the cumin begins to pop.
  3. Add onion and fry til almost turning gold.
  4. Stir in a good shot of butter.
  5. Add some tomato paste (just enough to make it rose coloured. it should NOT be red) Add cream (we use 10%) and salt to taste. Taste and add a little more butter if you want.
  6. Make Tandoori chicken with skinless boneless chicken pieces. The barbecue wok is perfect for this. (Yes, yes, I know. The barbecue is NOT a tandoor….)
  7. Just before serving, stir chicken into sauce.

Serve with naan, palak paneer and pickled onions and carrots.

I am absolutely stunbound that we do not have photos of naan or palak paneer either. Both of these are staples at our table! I couldn’t even begin to say how many times we have served naan, butter chicken and palak paneer! So many that I don’t even think to get the camera out when we are having this for dinner… remind me to post the few photos that are on the computer harddrive. And to take photos the next time we make naan and palak paneer (if the snow ever disappears so we can access the barbecue :lalala:).

And no photos or posts of pickled carrots and onions either?! WHAT is going on?

It snowed again this morning (lightly but there was some accumulation) so I can’t see that we’ll be barbecuing in the near future. But some of you lucky people who live in a less severe climate can make butter chicken. Go to town! And let me know how it turns out. I love to live vicariously.

Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB#121)
Coriander Leaf (Coriadrum sativum)

weekend herb blogging - © kalyns kitchen

coriander leaf Coriander leaf (aka cilantro) is the perfect garnish for Indian food. It adds a wonderful freshness to counter the rich and bold flavours of the spicy dishes.

Of course, some folks would disagree completely. Coriander is one of those herbs that people either adore or loathe. There isn’t really any middle ground. However, we happen to adore it.

On that day in June of last year that we served this butter chicken, we were fortunate enough to have coriander leaf from our garden! Coriander is pretty easy to grow but in our northern climate, it is also pretty easy to watch go to seed. I had left the previous year’s coriander plant where it was and we had several little coriander plants that remarkably sprouted in mid May. (I guess our coriander seeds don’t know that coriander isn’t frost hardy.) By early June, it was already very tall and pretty spindly and just starting to flower!! I only dared to take two stalks off the plant. But the flavour was really intense – so much more intense than the hothouse storebought coriander we are confined to right now.

Please read more about coriander leaf:

WHB is on the road again and this week’s host is Lia (Swirling Notions). The deadline for entering WHB#121 is Sunday 24 February 2008 at 15:00, Utah time (GMT-7). For complete details on how to participate in Weekend Herb Blogging, please see the following:


  • Your not-so-frantic-anymore sister

    Apologies accepted! It was only after searching my own paper files and my Word documents and your online recipes, even though I knew it wasn’t there, that I emailed you in distress. I was sure that you had emailed me the instructions before but I can’t find them. I remember that I made naan after you were here in the summer but I can’t remember what we ate it with. I thought it was butter chicken but I guess I was wrong–it might have been Chicken Curry or maybe Fish Curry but not Bengali Fish Curry because I like the top of my head just where it is.

    The palak paneer and the aloo gobi are in their dishes waiting to be put back in the oven. The butter chicken sauce (VERY simple to make) is in the fridge waiting for K to barbecue the now-marinating chicken after our guests arrive. The Srikund is in also in the fridge getting yellower and yellower. The naan is rising on the counter and I’ll barbecue it soon and it’s only 4:45! Everything is ready and now I can relax.

    I’ll let you know how it turned out.

  • Your relaxed and smug sister

    It was fabulous! Our guests ate up just about everything complaining of being over-stuffed…and then we had Srikund–a perfect ending to a perfect dinner. There is one small chicken breast that I might claim so I can have a Butter Chicken Sandwich.

  • Kalyn

    I don’t think it will ever stop snowing here either, if it’s any consolation!

    You are a good sister. I’ve had this in restaurants but never made it myself, and it does sound easy and delicious. And of course, the cilantro doesn’t hurt!

  • swirlingnotions

    Wow does this look decadent! Thanks for the entry!

  • brilynn

    I just had butter chicken last night, but I’ve never actually made it myself, which definitely needs to change.

  • Pingback: Swirling Notions ยป Weekend Herb Blogging is HERE!()

  • ejm

    Glad to hear the dinner turned out well, oh smug one! And good idea to serve aloo gobi as well. Thank you for shaming me into posting the recipe for butter chicken (remind me to post the carrot pickle recipe too….)

    It’s not too too decadent, swirlingnotions. Although, you’re right, there is a lot of butter. But the spinach cancels out all the butter and cream, doesn’t it? :whee:

    You must try this, Brilynn and Kalyn! Restaurant butter chicken is all very well but homemade is better… Are your barbecues accessible? (Ours isn’t. The mountain of snow on it FINALLY finished melting yesterday and wouldn’t you know it? It’s snowing again. :lalala:)

  • jasmine

    Ummm…if I bring my own paratha bread, can I come over…please?


    edit 27 February 2008: Why, of course!! Are they stuffed parathas, jasmine? If so, please bring extras… -ejm

  • Anna

    i have those exact same plates! my grandmother gave them to me when i first moved out of home and i love them. heavy, simple and a dash of blue. when i saw this photo in the WHB round-up i had to giggle to myself.

    edit: How cool is that? However, sadly for us, our plates are merely inexpensive knockoffs of your grandmother’s china. When we saw them in a department store (and their price), they were just too good to pass up. -ejm

  • Jeanne

    Butter chicken is so delicious, although I’ve never made my own – mea culpa mea culpa! And I hear what you say about finding random pictures of cooked an un-blogged food in your files – I have stuff dating back to the Dark Ages…!

    edit 20 March 2008: Random pictures? I wish!! I have found bulging folder after folder…
    You must try making butter chicken, Jeanne. It’s well worth the effort! And take photos. (heeheeheehee) -Elizabeth


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