Butter Chicken Thighs With Herby Eggplant Raita

Spencer Lengsfield
by Spencer Lengsfield
4 Servings
1 hr 20 min

This is inspired by a recipe in Delicious Magazine, and is definitely my new favourite way to enjoy butter chicken! Butter chicken, or murgh makhani, is an Indian curry of chicken in a spiced tomato, cream, and butter sauce. Similar but not quite as sweet as tikka masala, this is definitely still on the indulgent side. The crispy chicken thighs work really well in the creamy, slightly spicy sauce, with the herby charred eggplant raita to balance everything out. If you’re not a fan of eggplant, you could skip this step and replace it with some finely chopped cucumber or even charred zucchini. I served this with some garlic fried brown basmati rice, but it would be even better with some naan or roti!

Butter Chicken Thighs With Herby Eggplant Raita
Recipe details
  • 4  Servings
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 1 Hours Total time: 1 hr 20 min
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For the butter chicken
  • 1 kg (2lb 3/4 oz) Skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) Unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsps Garam masala
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder (or to preference)
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • Knob of ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp Tomato puree
  • 1½ tbsps Brown sugar
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) Chicken stock
  • 400 g (14 oz) Chopped tomatoes
  • ½ Tin coconut milk
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • To garnish - torn coriander, sliced spring onions, sliced radish, sliced green chilli
  • Salt and pepper
For the raita
  • 4 heaped tablespoon Greek yoghurt
  • 1 Eggplant/aubergine
  • Large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • A few mint leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ Shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp Garam masala
  • ½ Lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper

Start by patting dry your chicken thighs, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan with a splash of oil on high, then add in your chicken skin-side down.
Once your chicken skin is golden and crispy, flip, and allow the other side to cook for a couple of minutes. Don't worry that the inside isn't cooked, we'll cook it in the sauce. Remove the chicken, and turn the heat down to low.
If you have lots of oil left, wipe the majority out with some kitchen roll. Add in your butter and allow to melt, then add in your spices. Stir, and cook on low for a couple of minutes, then turn up to medium and add your onions, garlic, and ginger, and cook until just beginning to soften.
Add your tomato paste and cook until just beginning to darken, then add your brown sugar, tinned tomatoes, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, stir well to combine, bring up to the boil then turn down to low.
Bring your chicken thighs back to the pan and nestle them in the sauce, and leave to cook for an hour or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 73 C.
Meanwhile, prepare your raita. Prick the eggplant with a fork a few times, then either over an open flame or under your grill char until completely soft and black on the outside.
Place in a bowl covered with cling film and leave to sit for around 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Peel off and discard the skin, then roughly chop the flesh.
Add to a bowl, and combine with your yoghurt, chopped herbs, garam masala, shallot, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and some extra herbs.
Once your chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened, add your coconut milk and cook for a further couple of minutes. It may be easier to remove the chicken thighs before you add the coconut milk.
Taste and adjust any seasonings as necessary, garnish with spring onions, coriander, radish, and chillies, then serve with some rice and your eggplant raita. Enjoy!
  • You could also use heavy cream instead of coconut milk!
Spencer Lengsfield
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