This recipe was inspired by good friends and their delectable (can’t help feeling like Hannibal when I say that word) curry we enjoyed over the weekend. I had never heard of adding saffron milk to rice and wanted to try this out for myself…I also came across the blog by Mimi, (below) and her butter chicken recipe, which I have slightly adapted in this post. If you haven’t yet seen her blog, it is seriously worthwhile checking it out – beautiful photography and excellent recipes. It makes me crave 3 kids, a few dogs and a big old house in France!
The only things I have changed are the quantities, as I was cooking for just 2 people and I have swapped the peshwari naan for Matthew Evans’ herby flatbreads and made my own tzatziki (recipe coming soon). I was desperate to try this recipe as his yoghurt flatbreads had been such a success. The garlic and rosemary oil catapults their deliciousness to another level – please try them, for your own sake! I also made a saffron rice to accompany the curry and flat breads, which was a success. Pilau rice would also work well, but if you want something a little more subtle, go for this rice recipe or just plain, steamed basmati.
If you plan to make all the components, start by making the saffron milk for the rice as the flavours will have time to infuse and then the flatbreads as they take the longest. I would also suggest prepping all the ingredients (chopping and measuring) for the curry so everything can be ready together– and you can pretend you’re on a TV show.
Ingredients – Makes 8 flatbreads
- 7g sachet of dried yeast
- 1 tbsp honey
- 500g strong bakers flour, plus extra to dust
- Half a tin (200g) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 4 garlic cloves
- Small bunch rosemary, leaves picked and half chopped small
- Good glug of extra virgin olive oil
First, add the yeast to the honey and add 300ml tepid water, leave to one side.
Sieve the flour and 1 tbsp fine or ground salt flakes into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in half the yeast/water mixture and use a fork to bring the dry flour into the middle to combine. Add remaining yeast/water mixture and use hands to bring together into a smooth dough.
Roughly crush the beans with a fork and add to the flour mix with into the dough again using hands, with the fennel seeds. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and use clean, floured hands to knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Now put the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place for about 40 minutes, in which time it will double in size.
Now use a pestle and mortar to smash up the garlic cloves and rosemary with a good pinch of sea salt. Add a glug of oil – about 75ml and mix it well.
If making rice, this is a good time to rinse the rice and have it ready to add to the pan with the measured butter.
When the 40 minutes is up, heat the oven to 180°, knock back the dough (my favourite part) on a clean, floured work surface and divide into 8 pieces. Stretch out each piece into about a 15 cm round and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed up.
If making the rice, get this on now, as it will take 15-20 mintes too – Method below. As soon as the rice is bubbling away, start making the curry, which takes 15 minutes (once everything is chopped and measured).
You can also cook these on a BBQ (maybe even better), just cook for about 3 minutes on each side until nicely puffed up and charred, making sure to brush with the herby oil as you cook. I cooked these in the oven as it was a very wet day and brushed them with the oil as we sat down to eat them, still warm.
Rice infused with saffron milk – Serves 2
- 80ml milk
- ½ tsp saffron threads
- 40g butter
- 200g washed basmati rice
- 270ml cold water
- Pinch of salt
Prep the milk as early as possible (1 hour ahead) to enable flavours to develop. Just warm the milk with the saffron over a low heat for about 5 minutes (don’t let this bubble). Add butter to a saucepan and warm until melted. Add the washed rice and stir to combine. Now add the water and saffron milk and when it boils, reduce heat to low and simmer gently, covered for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir the rice and leave covered for about 5 minutes before serving, so steam.
Butter Chicken – Serves 2
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts cut into small pieces
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 onion or 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 can cherry tomatoes, roughly drained (keep a little juice)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp fenugreek
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cardomam
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp chilli (powder or flakes) or more if you like it hot
- 1.5 tsp garam masala
- 150ml crème fraiche. You could use sour cream or Greek yoghurt)
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 handful fresh coriander leaves chopped
- 1 small handful toasted almonds
As before, I would recommend doing all the chopping and measuring before you start in order to get all the components ready on time. I like to do this with curries that have many ingredients, it also ensures you don’t cook anything for too long. If you are making all the components (rice and bread) hopefully your rice is nicely simmering away and your flat breads are in the oven.
To begin the curry, heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken pieces. Remove the chicken and leave to one side, add the butter and when melted add the onion, garlic and ginger. Let this sweat for a few minutes before adding the spice mix, salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Now add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and cook for a further minute. Add the chicken to the pan and mix everything together before adding the crème fraiche (add more or less, to your liking). Simmer gently and uncovered for 10-15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with the fresh coriander and toasted almonds. Enjoy, we did!