Butter Chicken With Gently Spiced Jasmine Rice

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Butter chicken with cardamom and star anise jasmine rice.

I’ve been pretty quiet this week — the fact is, at the end of the weekend, I came down with either a very nasty stomach virus or some mild food poisoning. I’m not quite sure. But needless to say, I won’t be recommending any of the places I ate at over the weekend just in case. As you might imagine, I didn’t really feel up to editing photos of food the past few days.

Speaking of the food poisoning versus stomach virus quandary, that’s actually what caused me to come up with this recipe in the first place. A few months ago, B and I went to my favorite Indian place for dinner after work. That night, he got sick. I was convinced he was nowhere near sick enough for it to have been food poisoning. We also shared all of our food, and I had not even the faintest sign of a rumble. Nevertheless, he has put the restaurant on his blacklist and refuses to ever go back again.

It’s not that hard to find decent Indian food in Seoul, but the main appeal of this place was that it was just up the road. Indian food is just one of those things that I find I get powerful cravings for out of the clear blue — I never plan to eat it, really. I just suddenly have to. So having a decent recipe on hand is a good idea anyway.

Butter chicken with cardamom and star anise jasmine rice.

The science behind why Indian food tastes so good is pretty cool — it proves that all of those vague references in food writing to “balance” are not as off base as you might think. I will say that this recipe is in no way authentic — I’ve never been to India, and I don’t know a whole lot about cooking Indian food. I think the basics are there, though, and it tastes pretty good to me.

Oddly enough, chicken curry is a staple meal in my family home. My grandfather was a Baptist preacher, and he and my grandmother became very close to a visiting Indian pastor and his wife sometime in the sixties. The Indian pastor’s wife taught my grandmother how to make a chicken curry dish that has remained a constant on smaller holidays and at family gatherings all throughout my mother’s upbringing and then mine. Easter in my big Baptist family’s Texas house? Curry, for over 50 years. Weird, right? So in an odd way, I get a little bit of that hometown feeling when I’ve got a pot of this bubbling away on the stove.

Butter chicken with cardamom and star anise jasmine rice.

Butter Chicken With Gently Spiced Jasmine Rice

Butter Chicken With Gently Spiced Jasmine Rice


    Chicken Marinade
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala*
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Butter Chicken
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts**
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced***
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)***
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala*
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Jasmine Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice***
  • 1 table spoon butter
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 star anise***
  • 2 cardamom pods***
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Notes for Those in Korea
  • *If you don't feel like jumping through any hoops to get your hands on some garam masala (although it is available at the High Street Market and the Arabic-owned foreign markets in Itaewon, as well as on Gmarket), it's actually not hard to make it yourself with some more commonly available spices.
  • **Korean chicken breasts are much smaller, and I recommend using three or four, instead of two.
  • ***If you have any trouble finding these or any other ingredients, let me know in the comments, and I'll let you know where I get them.


  1. Cut the chicken breast into 1"x1" cubes. Combine the yogurt with the marinade spices and put the yogurt and the chicken in an airtight container, making sure the chicken is covered with the yogurt. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours before you start cooking (longer is fine -- you can throw this in the fridge in the morning and have it ready to go when you get home from work).
  2. Melt the butter for the butter chicken over medium heat in a deep skillet and add the onions, garlic, ginger and shallots. Cook while stirring for a couple of minutes and add the tomato paste and water. When the tomato paste is well combined with the butter and water, add the cream and spices. Stir until combined and add the chicken, throwing out the leftover yogurt marinade. Bring to a strong simmer and reduce the heat until it is just bubbling. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, stirring often.
  3. Melt the butter for the rice in a skillet over medium heat. Add the rice and saute it in the butter for 2-3 minutes. Add the water and stir through the salt and pepper. Place the star anise and cardamom pods on top of the rice. Bring the water to a simmer and reduce the heat as low as possible while maintaining a slight simmer. Cook until all of the water is absorbed, or about 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the spices from the top of the rice and fluff gently with a fork.

The post Butter Chicken With Gently Spiced Jasmine Rice appeared first on Follow the River North.

Follow the River North

Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.

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