When it comes to Indian food, it's butter chicken that always hits the spot. Soft and smothered in a lightly spiced sauce, this chicken dish might be mild, but it's full of intense flavour.
At Aamaya Indian Restaurant it's the rich and silky classic version we all know and love. Mela Indian serve it up mild and authentic, and at Beyond India, you'll find a smoky taste paired with the traditional sauce.
Here's the story behind this iconic dish.
Magically marinated and served spiced
Some like it hot, others covet creamy – but everyone loves a bit of butter chicken. Also known as makhani, this soothing chicken-based curry has Punjabi roots. Warming and humble, each taste of its mellow sauce is like a huge foodie hug – and it's all down to its trademark two-step process.
First, the meat is marinated for several slow and sensational hours, ready to let the magic happen. Dressed in a cream, yoghurt and spice concoction, the chicken can take on a garam masala, ginger and garlic taste. Typically tossed in a tandoor – the holy grail of clay ovens – it's then cooked until soft and stirred through the famously bright sauce. Beyond India's butter chicken is a stand-out, full of smoky tandoori depth and red capsicum sweetness.
A Delhi dish with international interest
Butter chicken doesn't have the most complicated of histories. It's a meal of Delhi origins and was born in the restaurant Moti Mahal Delux, owned by Kundan Lal Gujral – the guy responsible for introducing Punjabi cuisine to the world at large. Now that's a claim to fame.
Although Moti Mahal Delux is a now-massive cuisine chain of over 120 restaurants, it had humble roots. Opening the first restaurant in 1947, it started out as a booth – but Gujral's butter chicken recipe has been almost perfect since day one. And this is how Mela Indian serve it up – keep things authentic with a signature sauce with tomato and cream as the headline ingredients.
Creamy tomato and cooked with a twist
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Gujral may have made the first, but since its founding, chefs have continued to tailor the taste of butter chicken. The curry base is almost always built with tomatoes, cream and coriander, but the rest is ready to customise.
Some use cumin and cloves, while others opt for cinnamon and chilli. Aamaya like to add some more depth though. They add cashews and almonds to the sauce for a thicker, slightly nutty finish – and it's great for scooping up in naan bread or dipping pappadums in.
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