As it happens, for dinner tonight, Mel and I just made about the best butter chicken (Chicken Makhani) that any of us have ever had.
It's been requested that I post the recipe... But I don't really use recipes for this sort of thing.
It's not so much a recipe as a technique which I tweak based on what I have available, the exact flavor profile I'd like etc...
However, I can describe the technique and give a roughish recipe.
The first thing is we're using a prepared Garam Masala powder from india. I prefer toasting, grinding and mixing my own, but it wasn't convenient to do so at this time.
For appx 4 pounds of chicken, we used:
Appx 4tblsp garam masala powder (which includes some chili powder)
Appx 1tblsp of a mild mustard powder (mostly for emulsification)
Appx 1tblsp of garlic powder
Appx 1tblsp ground black pepper
Appx 1tblsp ground fenugreek
Appx 1tsp cumin (the garam masala had cumin as well)
Appx 1tsp paprika
Appx 2tblsp salt
Cube 4lb of BSB, and thoroughly rub the spice mixture into the cubed chicken.
Mix the spiced chicken together with appx 8oz of drained greek style yogurt, and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. I also add a couple teaspoons of soy, a couple teaspoons of franks redhot, a couple teaspoons of lemon juice, and a few dashes of worcestershire sauce.
Let sit for at least 2 hours.
For this step, you can start with clarified butter... but I actually prefer to use a brown butter preparation. I like the flavor... you just have to be more careful to avoid burning the butter solids.
Pull the chicken out of the marinade and remove as much as possible, shaking it off into a bowl to save... it will be the basis of the sauce.
You will get your best results with this using a very heavy enameled cast iron pan or dutch oven, on medium to medium low heat... just enough to really keep a sautee going. It will allow you to have a stable heat, and avoid scorching.
Gently brown 1/4lb of butter in a flavorful oil (olive, peanut, whatever you like) to a nutty brown color, aroma, and flavor.
I prefer to sautee some fresh garlic in the mix here, but we were out this time, so the only garlic was from the spice powder mix.
Sautee the chicken in small batches in the butter. Add more butter and oil, and brown it as necessary between batches, taking care not to scorch or burn the butter of the remainders of the yogurt from the chicken. You don't want the chicken fully cooked here, just MOSTLY cooked.
You will eventually use 1/2lb of butter or more in this recipe, depending on your butter, and the moisture content of your yogurt and chicken.
Add all the chicken back into the pan, along with the saved off yogurt marinade from before, and a 6oz can of tomato paste. Cook fully with high heat, making sure to reach a high simmer or sautee (depending on the fat and moisture content of the mix it might sautee, but most likely this is going to be too wet) for at least 4 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.
This is a very important step, for food safety as well as flavor.
At this point you want to add about 4 more ounces of yogurt. Keep another 4oz of yogurt handy to adjust the final texture and flavor.
Gently simmer the chicken in the yogurt sauce until it is fully cooked but tender, then remove from the heat and let stand. If the sauce breaks, vigorously stir in some more yogurt.
Serve over steamed basmati rice, or with a pilau or jasmine rice, with or without vegetables; and of course, naan.
At your option you may add onions, peppers, carrots, or peas, either raw or sauteed.