Butter chicken (also known as chicken makhani) is one of my favorite take-out dishes. It’s a rich, spicy, tomato-cream sauce that is laced with pieces of chicken breast. Most recipes are fairly complex and require a large range of spices. My goal, as an inherently lazy cook, was to make something that was quick to put together and required fewer spices. I’m pretty happy with my quick, decidedly inauthentic version of the dish. Scallops cook really quickly and they are wonderful bathed in this sauce, but you can use chicken or shrimp with excellent results.
Doesn’t that look great? I used some smaller, dry-pack sea scallops and I have made this three times in the past month. Incredibly fast and delicious.
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1/2 cup minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic paste
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 teaspoons garam masala
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pound sea scallops
- 8 ounces creme fraiche (or heavy cream)
- fresh cilantro, to garnish
- In a large skillet or wok pan, heat the ghee over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until it just starts to soften. Add in the garlic paste, ginger paste, tomato paste, salt, garam masala, cayenne, cumin, and cinnamon, and cook for another 3-5 minutes. It will be very thick, but the cooking at this stage will bring out the flavors of the spices.
- Add in the scallops and the creme fraiche, and cook until the scallops are just cooked through. This will take about 5 minutes. Garnish with the fresh cilantro and serve.
I use creme fraiche because I typically only consume cultured dairy (and I like to make my own), but heavy cream works well as a substitute. You could make this dairy free by using coconut oil instead of the ghee, and using a cup of full-fat coconut milk in place of the creme fraiche.
All of the spices are to taste, so you can make this as mild or spicy as you like.
After a month of not-very-clean eating, I am planning on a month of soups and salads to get back on track. Time to cleanse the body of the holidays!
Thanks for reading,