Serve with basmati rice and peas
One of my culinary highlights of 2013 was learning how to cook Indian food from my friends Taru Raman and Nirmala Kakkuppi hosted in the kitchen of my friend, Susan Hawkins. It was a fun afternoon filled with friendship, knowledge, and incredibly fragrant and visually delightful cuisine. As a newbie to Indian cooking, I feel honored to have learned from women who confidently prepare their traditional dishes commonly thought to be intimidating my most westerners. They broke this myth as I now prepare Indian food with confidence too (well, the recipes that they taught me).
The original recipe is vegetarian, “Paneer Butter Masala” (paneer is a type of Indian cheese), but I have replaced the paneer with chicken. You can find “Butter Chicken” on many Indian restaurant menus, but I was told this preparation is the real thing. You are in for a treat because either version, paneer or chicken, is amazing and surely to become a family favorite. For the vegetarian paneer butter masala recipe, see Suggestions below.
Some of the spices you may not have and if you do not plan on making more Indian dishes, try to find a market that sells spices in bulk so you can purchase only what you need. Garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori Methi) can be found at Indian markets and more gourmet supermarkets.