If you happen to search for an easy butter chicken recipe online, you'll likely encounter heaps and piles of information from both home cooks and professional chefs, claiming that their versions of either Pakistani or Indian butter chicken, are the easiest and the best. But which ones are truly the best?
The typical web searcher, through no fault of their own, usually chooses one of these ‘easy’ butter chicken recipes that generally consists of fifteen ingredients or more. The vast arrays of the ingredients in any of these butter chicken recipes can only add to the meal's level of complexity. Not to mention, the time spent at the grocery store and in the kitchen increases.
But what if there was a way to prepare and make this delicious meal without having to scour the grocery store aisles? No longer needing to rummage the store shelves in search of the menagerie of required ingredients? What if some of these ingredients were already premixed and all you had to do was purchase the perishables? Well, believe it or not, there is a product out there! Keep reading on to find out more.
Pakistani Butter Chicken or Indian Butter Chicken?
With so many options and variations out there, it may be hard to distinguish between Pakistani butter chicken recipes and Indian butter chicken recipes. So, what is the difference between the two?
If you've ever tried Indian and Pakistani cuisines, you have probably found out that both cultures tend to have a slight, but different approach to flavoring their foods. What some would say is picante and spicy, others would say is not. These differences in gastronomic perspectives more than likely stem from various agricultural regions and cultural practices of both India and Pakistan. But let's delve in a little bit more!
Though it may seem strange, not all Indian food is homogenous and the same. Broken down between Southern India and Northern India, you'll swiftly discover that ingredients sourced and used, and the flavor profiles of each are varied and distinctive. In Southern India, plants like coconuts, and tamarinds, and spices like chili peppers that are grown and indigenous, make dishes coconutty, spicy, and sour. On the other hand, if you travel a bit farther north, you'll encounter some diversity in the levels of spiciness used in foods.
For instance, in areas of North India, since there are a large number of dairy farms, it's not uncommon to see milk products like cheese, yogurt, butter, ghee, and heavy cream added to dishes. The use of dairy products gives the flavor profile of Northern Indian cuisine a mild and creamy zing. Plants such as cloves, cumin, and tree derivatives, such as cinnamon that are mainly grown there, contribute to the moderately spicy flavors of Northern Indian food, and even some parts of Pakistan.
Although there are noticeable culinary differences in those parts, it's not uncommon to see recipes from the Indian subcontinent to call for the usage of the spice mixtures like garam masala. For example, garam masala is used in both Pakistani and Indian butter chicken.
So What is Garam Masala, Anyways?
Image attribution made to erik forsberg from Flickr.
It's funny, you should ask! Although garam masala means "a hot spice mixture," it doesn't necessarily mean the spice mixture will be spicy. Garam masala usually consists of an assortment of freshly ground spices like cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and others.
There is no set recipe for garam masala; therefore, depending on the way one makes it, there are different resulting savors and tastes. Oftentimes, homemade concoctions and combinations of garam masala can either be based upon personal preference, cultural factors, or what's available in the house as far as pantry spices go.
Apart from the differing flavor profiles, garam masala is chock-full and brimming with health benefits, according to Dr. Rupali Dutta, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Hyderabad in India. For instance, some common spices found in garam masala, namely cloves and cardamom, have been shown to fight bad breath.
So no need for the bite-sized dinner mints anymore!
Additionally, by consuming dried cloves and cumin, both common ingredients found in garam masala, digestion may improve, as stated by Dr. Dutta. When these spices are used in conjunction, they encourage the secretion and release of gastric juices in the stomach, thus boosting digestive performance.
Although there are numerous health benefits in consuming garam masala,
eating garam masala by itself isn't practical. If you want to reap the rewards of consuming garam masala, then eat a meal that has it in it.
An Easy Butter Chicken Recipe That Rivals No Other!
There are virtually no online recipes for butter chicken that have fewer than ten ingredients and can be made in 30 minutes or less, but Mama's Masalas'. Mama's Masalas Pakistani Butter Chicken offers anyone the best bang for their bucks. This GMO-free and vegan-friendly spice mixture includes coconut milk solids, paprika, ginger, and others, in addition to garam masala. There's no longer the need to spend hours in grocery stores scanning the aisle for these often hard-to-find ingredients since you have it all in one box!
Below is a delicious Pakistani butter chicken recipe made with Mamas Masalas' spice mix in mind. If you haven't already, purchase Mama's Masalas Pakistani Butter Chicken spice mixture here.
If you want help making butter chicken that is vegan and vegetarian-friendly, then read on!
Tips for Making a Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly Butter Chicken
As you may already know, Mama's Masalas Pakistani Butter Chicken spice mix is already vegan and vegetarian-friendly. But if you're using the recipe above, you'll need to substitute out the chicken, heavy cream, butter, and ghee for plant-based options.
If you're a vegetarian or are just merely cutting down your daily intake of meat, then there's a way to eliminate the need for using chicken in this recipe. In lieu of chicken, use either non-starchy veggies like cauliflower and mushrooms or starchy vegetables like potatoes and lentils.
If you're vegan, then let's take it a step further. You can substitute butter and ghee by using vegan butter or margarine. In addition to this, you can substitute heavy cream with coconut milk cream.
Whether you choose to use meat or not, Mama's Masalas' easy butter chicken recipe is equally phenomenal!
If you've gone ahead and made this meal, please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on how the dish turned out and what can be done to improve the recipe.
Furthermore, if you are interested in learning about more comfort foods to make, then check out "What Do Organic Spices and Social Media Have in Common with World Health Day?". Or, if you want to get a little creative with Mama’s Masalas Pakistani Butter Chicken spice mix by adding it to your everyday breakfast, then read “The Nutritional and Organic Spice Benefits of Cooking a Healthy American Breakfast.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janelle Adams is the Digital Content Producer at Mama's Masalas. Having a cross-functional position, she is responsible for editing blogs and product descriptions, identifying and creating needed graphics and videos, managing all social media channels, and assisting in product line development.
Being a native of Georgia and a lover of the metro-Atlanta area, she naturally chose to study in-state. While at Kennesaw State University, Janelle joined the Kennesaw Marketing Association (KMA), which allowed her to form marketing-focused connections, and attend networking events in the region. In May 2020, she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management.
Having an acute eye for design and a need to build, Janelle often creates digital art on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and practices constructing computer-based models on Rhinoceros 3D.