Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Pompollo

The Real Bukhara Makhani Chicken--

Recommended Posts

Hi. I'm new here and I've discovered that I've come to the right place for help on Indian food & cooking. Great advice.

I'm a foodie living in Japan who loves Indian food and who also loves to cook, but never attempted to make Indian food, as it seemed so exoctic that I figured I could never replicate those flavors and taste sensations myself. Luckily there are some great Indian restaurants in Tokyo.

I recently went to India for 10 days, and for good or bad (as I don't like hype), I figured for the experience I had to have dinner in Delhi at least once in my life at Bukhara, renowned for its tandoori cooking and dal. Besides these two dishes, we wanted something with "gravy", a word which always made me laugh on my trip since it's what westerners refer to as a "curry" in India, but which Indians refer to as a dish with some liquid or sauce.

Not expecting much, we settled for the Murg Makhani (Butter Chicken) on their menu since it was one of the few "gravy" offerings, and besides it's sometimes fun to compare the same dishes from one place to another, as we had eaten it once or maybe twice during the trip and liked it.

I remember the tandoori as being o.k., but after a while the huge portions got to taste too smokey. The dal very good (no offense to Indian cooks/cooking, but it tasted like the great cuban beans my friends make at home. It's definitely the smokey flavor common to both.) Anyway, when I took my first bite of the Makhani Chicken, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven while sitting on my Bukhara stool. Now, ever since then I cannot get that taste out of my mind. I have since hunted the Internet (one reason I ended up here.) to look for a recipe.

I settled on three and ended up combining what I thought was the best of them. One had a supurb combination of spices for the tandoori marinade. Another added cashew nut paste and cilantro, and the 3rd called for a pinch of mace and nutmeg. If I do say so myself, it came out better than I had expected. I am now also into trying other dishes (potato cauliflower) was another favorite discovered during my trip. I am also having fun trying to decide on Indian cookbooks too, as I am getting into "doing it myself".

Anyway, I know that on this forum many members have given ricipes for butter chicken. Suvir has offered some, one from Bukhara, in fact. But what was noticeable/remorable about the Bukhara's was the richness of flavors, the thick texture of the sauce, and hints of various spices. Topped with a good helping of cilnatro cooked in as well as garnished fresh on top. The dish just wasn't butter, cream and tomatoes, as there were definitely other tastes in there. The finishing touch of this ambrosia at the Bukhara was a slice of lime to squeeze in and mix up. I know they have the dal in cans, but if their makhani sauce were to be next, I'd be first in line to stock up on some.

I know butter chicken has been hashed around by many and often here, as the dish is popular for good reason: it's an unforgetable taste sensation that's addicting. Sorry to bring it up again, but is there really one recipe that creates the taste I'll never forget?

And with all your good help I feel more confident already in "polishing up my elbow" (as the Japanese say) when it comes to cooking Indian food.

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pompollo - welcome to the India forum. It was really nice to read your mouth watering post. I have a few chef friends who trained at the Bukhara.. let me see if they will part with the recipes

Welcome and looking forward to hearing more from you


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few mistakes/compromises that many people including chefs make:

Not using Tandoori chicken. There is no real substitute for the smoke flavor.

Not sauteing the tomato puree with the rest of the spices.

Not using Ghee, Cream and Sugar apart from the Butter. No wonder people go to heaven albeit for a short stint.


Edited by Episure (log)

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Monica,

It's nice to receive your welcome. Thanks! :biggrin:

I'll look forward to hearing a reply if you can.

And thanks too for helping us out with great advice on how to cook delicious Indian food. (And I also mean: Indian food deliciously too)

Pompollo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a recipe for Murgh Makhani in 50 Great Curries of India, by Camellia Panjabi.

The ingredient list for the sauce itself is tomatoes, dried fenugreek leaves, chilled butter (because the sauce is cooked briefly and the butter must not be allowed to turn into ghee, thus chilled to start with), paprika, a few drops of vinegar, garam masala, and single cream.

In doing other research today, I read another recipe that calls for the addition of honey, but I can't for the life of me remember where I saw it.

edited for typos

Pat


Edited by Sleepy_Dragon (log)

"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been reading/analyzing every butter chicken recipe I can get my hands on (hundreds) and have spent the last 10 years trying to replicate the flavor from my favorite restaurant. I'm close to my goal.

As butter chicken recipes can vary greatly from restaurant to restaurant, the path to my butter chicken bliss is definitely a different route than yours. That being said, I have learned a few things in my quest that might help you.

As Episure stated, Tandoori chicken is essential. I'd even go a step further to say that superb Tandoori chicken is essential. Butter chicken may have grown out of a way of rewarming/adding moisture to dry leftover chicken, but nowadays, the chicken plays a far greater role. For quite some time I was under the misconception that a good gravy will cure any ill caused by mediocre mistreated chicken. I suffered from gravy on the brain syndrome - chicken was just an afterthought. I now give equal and careful attention to both the gravy and the chicken and am richly rewarded for doing so.

It wasn't until I stopped eating sweets for a while that I was able to detect the honey in my favorite restaurant's butter chicken. Did you see any pieces of onion in Bukhara's sauce? If there wasn't, it's possible they pureed it, but I'd put my money on honey. The acidity of the tomato needs some kind of sweetness to balance it. Some restaurants use sugar but my tastebuds are telling me that the majority use honey.

Cream has a tendency, when used in excess, to mask flavors. At least that's what I've noticed when adding it to this dish. Since the restaurant butter chicken I love is flavorful and creamy, I'm guessing that all or part of the creaminess comes from cashew paste. I have yet to experiment with cashew paste but I'm expecting it to be the last piece of the restaurant quality butter chicken puzzle.

I hope you are planning more trips back to India in the future. Replicating a dish from the memory of one meal can be very difficult. I try to eat my favorite restaurant's butter chicken at least once a week to keep the image of the dish fresh in my mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As Episure stated, Tandoori chicken is essential. I'd even go a step further to say that superb Tandoori chicken is essential.  {snip}  I now give equal and careful attention to both the gravy and the chicken and am richly rewarded for doing so.

Scott123 - So have you discovered a way to make a "superb Tandoori chicken" from home without a tandoor? I have made some pretty good stuff in my broiler but I'm not sure I would call it superb Tandoori.

It wasn't until I stopped eating sweets for a while that I was able to detect the honey in my favorite restaurant's butter chicken.  Did you see any pieces of onion in Bukhara's sauce? If there wasn't, it's possible they pureed it, but I'd put my money on honey.  The acidity of the tomato needs some kind of sweetness to balance it. Some restaurants use sugar but my tastebuds are telling me that the majority use honey.

The jaggery I've tried has tasted to me like a cross between brown sugar, honey, and something else (almost like bamboo). Could it be jaggery and not honey you're tasting? I have tried making butter chicken with both and to be honest I couldn't really tell the difference, but maybe I should try to stop eating sweets for a while (yeah right :raz: ).

I'm guessing that all or part of the creaminess comes from cashew paste.

Hmmm. Cashew paste? How about almond paste? I've definitely seen reference to almonds or almond paste on menus at Indian restaurant under the description of butter chicken. I've also used it in small quantities in my butter chicken and thought I detected a subtle improvement. I'm thinking of using a little bit more next time and instead of sprinkling it in, I plan to incorporate it during the step I use a blender to insure it is thoroughly mixed in.

Just some thoughts.

Richie

PS. I found your thread where you describe Jyoti in NJ as having your favorite Butter Chicken, I think I'll head out there in the next couple weeks to check it out... :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scott123 - So have you discovered a way to make a "superb Tandoori chicken" from home without a tandoor?  I have made some pretty good stuff in my broiler but I'm not sure I would call it superb Tandoori.

Richie111, although I have made strides in paying attention to factors such as the quality of my chicken, the marinade and the cooking time/doneness, I have a long way to go to recreate the "superb" chicken I've had in restaurants. I do think a lump charcoal grill might make a decent tandoori chicken, though. That is the next step in my experimentation

Could it be jaggery and not honey you're tasting?

Jaggery is an excellent idea. I will definitely have to give that a shot, thanks.

Hmmm.  Cashew paste?  How about almond paste?  I've definitely seen reference to almonds or almond paste on menus at Indian restaurant under the description of butter chicken.

Are you sure you've seen references to almonds/almond paste in butter chicken descriptions on menus? I have seen many a korma garnished with almonds but the butter chickens I've seen tend to be spared the almond garnish, instead usually receiving a light sprinkling of chopped cilantro. And from a recipe perspective, cashew paste is an ingredient about 30% of the time and almond paste has never been mentioned. Anything is possible, though. Maybe your favorite restaurant does it differently or I might be missing something.

PS. I found your thread where you describe Jyoti in NJ as having your favorite Butter Chicken, I think I'll head out there in the next couple weeks to check it out... :biggrin:

I have had some pretty amazing butter chickens since I wrote that review, so I'd have to place Jyoti as one of my favorites, rather than THE favorite. It is superb, though. And, if it's not part of the lunch buffet, you might want to get an order of gulab jamon for dessert. Please let me know what you think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scott123 -

As to the almond paste, I think I am wrong on this. :wub: I dug up all of my old recipes for this dish (about 30) and of them there were 11 references to cashew nut paste and only 1 reference to almond paste (interesting that's around 30% as you mentioned in your post and even more interesting that I found even one - this one - that uses almonds). Also I checked some menus and the only reference I found to almond was, as you said, in korma. I am pretty sure I know of one place that includes almonds in the description but that would just seem to be an exception. I think I may have confused that ingredient early on in coming up with my own recipe and never questioned it after that. I look forward to trying it with cashew paste.

Also, I was going to PM you but I guess this would not be an entirely inappropriate place to ask you where are some of the other places you've found good butter chicken?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i am someone who (as i've said elsewhere on egullet in the past) doesn't see too much movement on a continuum from great butter-chicken to crappy butter-chicken, as opposed to say from great naans to crappy naans. and i've eaten the butter chicken at bukhara as well. my suspicion is that a large part of the explanation for why the bukhara version tastes so different is that no one is better with a tandoor than the folks in the bukhara kitchen and, as episure has stated, good tandoori chicken makes all the difference--not just to the succulence of the meat but also to the flavor it imparts to the sauce. now, with that said when i want a butter-chicken in delhi i go to either pindi or gulati in pandara road. when i go to bukhara i focus on those of their offerings that have not been slathered in a rich tomato based gravy. but that's just me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richie111, in the murky world of butter chicken I don't think there is a "wrong" or "right" in this regard. I wouldn't be too quick to cross almond paste off the list. Your favorite butter chicken might very well contain it. As I said earlier, there are many paths to butter chicken bliss. I'm definitely adding it to my list of things to experiment with.

Also, I was going to PM you but I guess this would not be an entirely inappropriate place to ask you where are some of the other places you've found good butter chicken?

I had a top notch butter chicken at Saffron in East Hanover the other day. I also had scorched saag at the same time, so my feelings on the restaurant continue to be mixed.

Begum Palace in Madison does an excellent butter chicken, although they serve it rarely.

It has been a while since I've been there, but Neelam in Berkley Heights has a butter chicken on par with Jyoti. Overall I found Neelam and Jyoti to be very similar in food and decor. I wouldn't be surprised if they had the same owner.

Of all the places I've mentioned, Jyoti is the only place where butter chicken is guaranteed to be on the buffet. With the other places, the likelihood is fairly slim, especially at Begum where I've only seen it a couple of times in more than 20 visits.

I should also probably tell you that my tastes are fairly common when compared to the more etherial palates of many in this forum. Words like heavy, smothered, rich and excessive are all music to my ears. No fresh tomatoes or creamless gravies for this peasant :) Just to give you a little better picture of where I stand, I can eat 20 white castles in one sitting and my penchant for ring dings is reknown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are home tandoors that can be purchased. I recall seeing some web pages a year ago or so showint the installetion of one.

Looking....

This guy set up a tandoor in his back yard. There's a list of links to places that sell tandoors and tandoor liners on his Books and Contacts page.


Bacon starts its life inside a piglet-shaped cocoon, in which it receives all the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and tasty.

-baconwhores.com

Bacon, the Food of Joy....

-Sarah Vowell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i am someone who (as i've said elsewhere on egullet in the past) doesn't see too much movement on a continuum from great butter-chicken to crappy butter-chicken, as opposed to say from great naans to crappy naans.

Mongo, are you saying that, unlike naan, which can run the gamut of quality, butter chicken is usually either great or crappy and seldom in between?

I'm curious, do you make butter chicken at home?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i am someone who (as i've said elsewhere on egullet in the past) doesn't see too much movement on a continuum from great butter-chicken to crappy butter-chicken, as opposed to say from great naans to crappy naans.

Mongo, are you saying that, unlike naan, which can run the gamut of quality, butter chicken is usually either great or crappy and seldom in between?

I'm curious, do you make butter chicken at home?

no, i don't make butter chicken at home--in fact i know of very few indians who do (probably most of those who do are in the diaspora), but that is just from my own experience.

as for my comment about the continuum, my contentious claim is that there is less distance travelled from a great butter chicken to a crappy one than there is for many other famous indian dishes (like for example a dosa or a gulab jamun or a biryani). i'm trying to search for an american analog--if i come up with one i'll post again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious, do you make butter chicken at home?

Many people in India buy a cooked tandoori chicken and make the gravy at home.

You can make an ersatz version by oven baking the chicken using the right marinade, then insert a live coal with some butter in the cavity and cover the chicken with foil to infuse the smoke flavor.


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You can make an ersatz version by oven baking the chicken using the right marinade, then insert a live coal with some butter in the cavity and cover the chicken with foil to infuse the smoke flavor.

That is a fascinating workaround Episure, thank you for sharing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Bhukhhad
      Breakfast in India vs Breakfast in our homes outside India
      My breakfasts have varied from the time I started to cook for myself instead of just enjoying my Mother’s cooking. At first they were a mix-match of meal fixings, or just dinner leftovers. Or the good old breakfast cereal and milk. But as the years passed and I was more organized, the meals I enjoyed in my Mother’s home began to swim in my memories. And I began to prepare those for my family. However, I am no amazonian chef, so depending on  the hectic nature of the days plans, I switched back and forth from convenience with taste, to elaborate and of course tasty breakfasts. We do have both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods but Indian breakfasts will mostly be vegetarian. 
      So here are some of the things I might make: 
       
      1. Poha as in mostly ‘kande pohe’.
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
      3. Masala toast
      4. Indian Omelette
      5. Handwo piece
      6. Thepla
      7. Vaghareli rotli
      8. Dhokla chutney
      9. Idli sambhar
      10. Leftover sabji
      11. Muthiya
      12. Khakhra
      13. Upma
      14. Paratha
       
      1. Kande Pohe: 
      The dish derives its name from Maharashtra where the Kande Pohe are celebrated as breakfast. They can of course like any breakfast, be eaten at any time. 
      Pohe/ Poha are steamed rice grains that have been beaten flat and then again redried. So they are like Rice flakes. Except they are hand pounded, so have a knobbly texture. 
      You get several varieties in the market. I prefer the thick white variety. 
       
      1 cup dry poha per person
      1 medium onion sliced
      1/2 jalapeno deseeded
      1 sprig curry leaves
      2 small garlic cloves
      1/4 t cumin seeds
      1/2 lemon 
      1/8 t asafoetida
      1/4 t turmeric
      small handful of cilantro leaves
      1T fresh grated coconut
      2 T Peanut oil 
      salt to taste
      sugar to taste
       
      In a pan heat some oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add sliced onions and stir. Saute on medium heat till they turn slightly browned here and there. Do not burn the onions. 
      Meanwhile wash the Poha in a colander and drain. Do this two or three times to get rid of any dirt and also to allow them to rehydrate. They do not need soaking. Fluff the poha with a fork. Add salt sugar turmeric asafoetida and chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside. 
      Once the onions are ready add minced garlic and chopped jalapeno along with the curry leaf sprig. 
      Turn the heat to low and add the poha mixture. Stir to coat and to allow the turmeric and asafoetida to cook. The poha will turn mildly yellow and start giving a wonderful fragrance. 
      Turn off the heat. Fluff gently and plate. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
      Finger licking good!! 
      Now when I make this next I will post a picture. 
      Update: Ok I felt the urge to have Kande Pohe for tonight’s dinner. So here is a picture. I am certain to enjoy it for breakfast as well. The measurement of 1 cup poha per person is too much for one meal. But carried over to another meal thats super good! I will also have some stir fried bok choy greens made in the same kadhai after the poha was done, and some cooked and sliced beetroot for salad. My family will add some haldiram sev on the poha for extra crunch! And we will all have some chaas to round off this meal. 
      *************
       
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
       
      These are essentially crepes but in the Indian style. 
      1/2 cup sieved garbanzo bean (Besan) flour. 
      Water to form a thin batter
      1T plain yogurt 
      1/2 t ginger garlic paste 
      1/4 or less green chili crushed
      2 t heated oil *
      pinch asafoetida
      pinch turmeric 
      salt to taste
      chopped cilantro (two sprigs)
      some ‘masala’ from a readymade pickle
       
       
      Method:
       
      mix the ingredients together except oil. Heat oil in a separate pan and add about 1 to 2 t of the hot oil onto the batter. It will sizzle. Use a whisk to stir thoroughly. The batter should be pouring consistency. 
      Let the batter soak for about half an hour if possible. 
      On a hot griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter. Turn the griddle with your wrist to spread the batter around. Cook on moderate to high flame. Flip the crepe when all the sides look like they are ready. You can add a little oil to the sides of the frying pan to make the edges crispy. 
       
      In my home we usually have a Besan cheela with some yogurt its a quick and filling breakfast. You can have a small salad or fruit with it to make it more complete. Or fill the center of the cheela with some cottage cheese and fold for added creaminess! 
      ****************
      3. Masala Toast : 
       
      1 slice of bread (your choice) toasted
      1/2 small red onion minced
      1 medium roma tomato diced (or whatever you have)
      cilantro (few leaves)
      1/8 t cumin (optional)
      1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
      1 inch cube paneer
      1 T peanut oil
      pinch turmeric (optional)
       
      Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
      I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it. 
      **************************
       
      I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat. 
      Bhukkhad
       

    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
       

       
      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
       
      Ingredients:
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
       
      Directions
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
    • By Sheel
      Goa being one of the popular cities of India is known for its local delicacies. These delicacies have been passed on from generation to generation, while some of them have continued to remain popular, some of them have lost their charm with the introduction of newer cuisines. Since the Portuguese entered Goa, they have had a strong influence on the local cuisine. A major turning point came when they introduced a variety of spices that changed their style of cooking completely. The Portuguese introduced plants like corn, pineapple,  papaya, sweet potato and cashews. One such example of a popular dish would be Pork Vindaloo. Goan food is a mix of hot and sour ingredients that make their seafood delectable. Kokum is one such ingredient which is known to be a tangy-sweet fruit. It is added in curries to render a sour taste and is often accompanied with seafood. Dried red chillies are one the most vital ingredients common among all the local delicacies that is either used in its whole form or ground into a fine paste. Since seafood is the soul of Goan food, it is preserved and relished in other forms too. Goan pickles are known to be quite famous. Prawn Balchao, a very famous prawn pickle prepared with dried red chillies is relished with a simple lentil curry and rice. Another delicacy is the Goan Para Fish made with mackerels, red chillies and goan vinegar. These are regular accompaniments with their routine meals. When talking about Goa, you cannot not mention their sausages. These mouth-watering and spicy sausages are made with pork and a variety of spices. Last but not the least, is the widely famous Goan bread, locally known as Poi. Leavened bread which is part of almost every meal and eaten with plain butter too. These ingredients make the cuisine extremely palatable and continue to make this cuisine stand out from the rest.
    • By shweta gupta
      Do any one familiar with the Bengali spice brands of India, my friend is Interested in Cooking Bengali Food. Can any One Suggest me few Brands to Reffer.
      Please comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...