Despite living in Singapore, I have the lifestyle of someone living in London-time. As I am typing this post, it is 1.30am in Singapore and 5.30pm in London. Most typical Singaporeans would be in lalaland, but here’s me at my most active.
So basically last week, the inspiration kicked in around 3am as I was lying in my bed in my still #activemode, I started thinking about how it has been quite a while since I cooked butter chicken. Suddenly, it daunts on me that I should try making Butter Chicken Meatballs. It was that moment where you thought you are ingenious and you are going to recreate something new for the world, until you Google and realize you ain’t a dish-inventor after all. Apparently, there are other people in this world who have the same ideas as you. Bummer.
Although it is hard to pinpoint one specific dish that represents a particular cuisine, it suffices to say butter chicken is a very popular dish in Indian Cuisine and it is well known worldwide. It used to be food that is befitting for royals only. I guess someone must have thought “hey, why do they only get the good stuff. I am going to cook this and let the commoners enjoy too!” Lucky us, royalty or not, we get to indulge in this royal dish!
So back to this recipe, you can obviously use chicken meat to make this dish, but I am gonna be using minced chicken this time around. We start by making the meatballs which I seasoned with some garam masala, pepper, ginger garlic paste. (see recipe below). Then when pan-frying the meatballs I used some ghee instead of oil. You can use any oil you prefer, but obviously using ghee does make a noticeable difference.
We are aiming to brown the meatballs when pan-frying, and not fully cooking the meatballs as they will continue to cook in the rich sauce later. I did not add any colouring to the dish but feel free to add a few drops of colouring if you want to follow the characteristic colour of a chicken tikka which is usually bright traffic light orange.
This Butter Chicken Meatballs would go with rice, bread or even some baked/mashed potatoes, if you wanna go fusion. I served it with this Easy Ghee Rice and this creamy side salad which consists of:
- 2 cucumbers, deskinned and sliced
- 2 green chilies, sliced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/4 cup thick coconut milk
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Chopped cilantro/mint
- Salt + pepper to season
Bring all the ingredients together and mix well. Keep in the refrigerator till ready to use. It is a simple salad but really goes well with this dish, so do make it if you can!
Do give this Butter Chicken Meatballs recipe a try. A classic, inexpensive dish that should be a house-hold staple and a great recipe if you are looking to expand your recipe repertoire. The dish keeps well, a great make ahead and so perfect for the chilly weather that we are having right now!
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp grated garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro/mint
- 1 tbsp plain greek yogurt
- Salt and black pepper to season
- 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp butter/ghee
- 3 large onions - chopped/blended
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 2 green chilies - sliced
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp fennel powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- ½ cup cream
- ½ cup milk
- 300g tomato - chopped
- ½ cup cilantro leaves + a few sprigs for garnish
- Salt to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, except the ghee/oil.
- Shape into meatballs, according to your preferred size.
- Set a large skillet with high sides over medium-high heat with the ghee/oil.
- Once hot, cook the meatballs in batches till golden.
- Transfer to a plate and continue browning the rest of the meatball.
- In a pot/pan, heat up butter/ghee
- Add onions and green chilies and fry till fragrant.
- Add ginger and garlic paste and saute for a further 60 seconds.
- Mix in all the spices and cook for a good 5 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes and 1.5 cups of water to the pan and cook on medium heat till the tomatoes have turned all mushy. This takes about 15 minutes.
- Add in the meatballs and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add in the cream, milk and cilantro and cook to a slow simmer until the sauce is thick to your liking.