Updated: Apr 9
Wandering New Delhi's chaotic old city is a bewildering shock of the senses. The packed streets are filled with rickshaws, taxi’s, holy cow’s and hawkers calling out selling their goods for the day. Above monkey’s crawl along the spider web mess of power lines. As the Muslim call to prayer adds to this amazing scene I sat down at a small food stall offering Delhi’s “Best Butter Chicken”, oh was I in for a surprise!
Old Delhi is the Delhi we all imagine. Yes, its chaotic, crowded, sweltering hot and yes kind of smelly. At the same time its colorful, full of life, culturally wondrous and beautiful in every single way. This is the Delhi where masterful Indian recipes are conjured up, most of the time from a small shop that has been feeding the street masses for generations. This is the Delhi travelers come to remember, cherish and love.
Traveling India is an assault on the senses. India’s food is a testament to this. Complex and full of delicious flavors you will never be the same after you have sampled this incredible cuisine that uses almost every spice imaginable!
It wasn't just the Butter Chicken I had in the Old City, almost every dish I sampled here changed my perspective on Indian Cuisine. Because of the old cities diversity of cultures their are so many variations of Curry, Tandoori, Daal. Its a foodies dream come true! The spice market here is where I discovered many of India's blends! Much of which you can see on my store shelves today!
Old Delhi Butter Chicken Recipe
Its a rich and delicious curry seasoned heavily with an assortment of spices. Dive in and sample one of Old Delhi's best Butter Chicken Recipes!
Serving Prep Time Cook Time
4 Servings 20 min 1 Hour
Old Delhi Butter Chicken
3 tbsp Ghee
1 tsp Black Mustard Seed
1 Large Onion
6 Garlic Clove
2 inch Ginger Knob
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Tikka Masala
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch
1 pinch Kashmiri Saffron Threads
1 tsp Cyprus Pyramid Salt
1 can (28oz) Crushed Tomato
4 Chicken Breasts - Free Range
3 tbsp Fenugreek Leaves
3 tbsp Coconut Sugar
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 Bunch Cilantro Leaves
In a deep pot put the Ghee and mustard seeds on medium heat. While this heats up add the onion into a food processor and blend into a paste. When the Mustard begins to crackle add the onion paste into the Ghee and stir. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Steep the saffron threads in a small cup of boiling water.
While this cooks blend the Garlic and Ginger into a paste (you can add small bits of oil in to help liquefy it). Add the Garlic and Ginger paste into the pot and cook for another 3 minutes. At this point add all the spices, salt, coconut sugar and steeped saffron water, excluding the fenugreek leaves. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant.
The Curry paste for the Butter Chicken should begin to take shape now. you can dice up the chicken to whatever desired size and add it into the pot with the can of crushed tomatoes. Lower the heat to just above low and cover. Let simmer for up to 25 minutes, the tomatoes should breakdown and the mixture should be very fragrant. Half way through crumple up the Fenugreek leaves in your hand and add to the mixture.
Now, slowly pour the cream into the mixture. Stir and cover once again and cook for another 10 minutes. Taste the Butter Chicken at this point. If to salty add sugar, if to sweet add salt and if too spicy add lemon juice. If the Butter Chicken tastes how you want it then add the fresh Cilantro Leaves in and cook for 2 more minutes. Serve with fresh Naan bread or Rice.
Not just the capital of India its is also the hub of North Indian culture. Here you will find a bewildering mix of cultures and ancient bazaars filled with exotic goods.
Most travelers will tell you that Delhi might be ugly on the outside, but delve deep into this wondrous place and you will find she has a beautiful heart. Its a busy, grimy grid lock of traffic and poverty, but its also ancient and Indians have been inhabiting this area for thousands of years. You will find colorful markets filled with spice, incense wafting temples with baba's chanting ringing through the halls and some of India's most delicious food! Many of India's most spectacular sights are nearby to Delhi as well! for instance the Taj Mahal is only a short three hour train ride away! As a traveler who has been to Delhi numerous times, I can tell you this, stay awhile and get lost in one of the worlds most fascinating cities.
Indian Butter Chicken
Known in India as Murgh Makhani, Butter Chicken is quite possibly the most famous of the North Indian dishes. The debate of where it originated is often agreed that in the heart of Delhi, Delhi's Old City it had been made by street vendors for years. In the Old City you find such an array of spices from around the continent that it seems only fitting that it had been created here! The rich flavors are a testament to India's Mughal Islamic Past. This empire's cuisine was based on rich sauces and heavy use of spice, this is quite possibly where those who made Butter Chicken had got their inspiration!
See more of my adventure in India on www.unchartedbackpacker.com