4 boneless chicken thighs, skin removed and cut into three pieces
For the butter chicken sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
75g/2½oz unsalted butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2cm/¾in fresh root ginger, peeled and finely diced
2 cardamom pods, crushed
pinch ground cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp chilli powder
250ml/9fl oz chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
10 whole blanched almonds, soaked in water for a few hours to soften
10 whole cashew nuts, soaked in water for a few hours to soften
100ml/3½fl oz double cream
For the bhajis
6 sprouting broccoli spears
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp salt
1 handful baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 hot green chilli, finely diced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 lemon, juice only
120g/4½oz gram flour
vegetable oil, for frying
200g/7oz Greek-style yoghurt
4 tbsp mint sauce
2 tbsp coriander cress, to garnish
To make the marinated chicken, mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and add the chicken. Rub the marinade thoroughly into the chicken, cover the bowl and place overnight in the fridge.
To make the butter chicken sauce, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 25g/1oz butter in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Fry until softened, then add the spices. Cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes and purée. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and thickened. Tip into a blender along with the soaked nuts and blitz to a smooth purée. Pour back into the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the sauce to the desired consistency.
Put a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. When the pan is hot, add the chicken and fry until golden brown all over. Add the chicken into the reduced sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes to cook through. Add the cream, bring back to a gentle simmer, then add the remaining 50g/1¾oz of butter and stir into the curry. Keep warm whilst you make the bhajis.
To make the bhajis, toss the onions in a bowl with the salt and leave for 30 minutes to soften. Preheat a deep fat fryer to 180C. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Bring a pan of water to the boil. Blanch the sprouting broccoli spears for 2 minutes until just cooked through, then drain and refresh under cold water. Roughly chop the broccoli spears and set aside.
Squeeze the onions and mix with the broccoli, spinach, garlic, chilli, coriander and lemon juice. Add enough gram flour and water to make a loose batter that completely coats the vegetable mixture. Place large spoonfuls of the bhaji mixture – roughly 3 tablespoons each – in the fryer and cook for a few minutes until golden brown. Carefully transfer to kitchen paper to drain.
To serve, mix the yoghurt and mint sauce together in a small bowl. Place the butter chicken on warmed plates, garnish with the coriander cress and serve with the bhajis and mint yoghurt.
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