I make my Instant Pot Butter Chicken fairly often but I don't always plan well enough to marinate the meat overnight and I do believe that an overnight marinade is essential to achieve a rich depth of flavour in the final dish and avoid it tasting like bland chicken plunked into delicious sauce. My theory was that if I added the chicken marinade ingredients INTO the meatballs, it wouldn't have to sit for so long before I can cook the finished dish.
We also really, really love meatballs. A quick search for meatballs on The Yum Yum Factor will reveal my obsession with these orbs of tender delight so it stands to reason that I eventually try to meatballify every favourite recipe at some point.
I have been mulling a meatball conversion with Butter Chicken for a while but I have been so busy cooking at work, that I have barely cooked more than scrambled eggs in my own kitchen all year but I finally got around to making it this week.
|don't be alarmed by the bright red interior - thats just the tandoori masala|
I loved the tandoori meatballs after the first try but the sauce required a bit of tinkering to get it right as the amounts I use with my actual butter chicken resulted in a sauce that was too thin, most likely due to the extra moisture released from the mushrooms. You don't have to add the mushrooms to the ground chicken but I think that they are great not only from a stretching your meat dollars standpoint, but they add flavour and moisture to ground chicken, which can be a bit dry.
This final sauce is the perfect amount and consistency and the flavour is bang on. Whether you use heavy cream, evaporated milk which gives the thick consistency of cream without the fat or coconut milk is up to you. All three versions are delicious with cream being the most decadent but with all that butter and heavy cream, it's not exactly the lightest thing you will ever make. Speaking of sauce, you will most likely have a decent amount leftover after all of the meatballs have been devoured and you can either serve it with french fries and cheese curds - Indian Poutine is to die for- over fish or roasted veggies with rice. Come on, this stuff would be great on just about anything. You can even freeze the leftover sauce to use later and just simmer some chicken or more meatballs in it a month or two down the road.
You can take a bath in it, just promise me you won't throw it out.
Butter Chicken Meatballs
|Wouldn't these be great in a sub?|
550g (1 1/4 lbs) ground chicken
125 g (1/4 lb) white button mushrooms
1 tbls greek yogurt
1/3 cup panko
3 tbls tandoori masala
2" piece of ginger, peeled and rasped (or about a tbls of ginger puree)
3 cloves garlic, grated on a rasp or minced
Butter Chicken Sauce
2 tbls ghee or butter
1 onion, peeled and grated
5 cloves garlic, grated on a rasp or minced
2" piece of ginger, peeled and rasped or minced (1 tbls ginger puree)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili flake
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fenugreek
1 3/4 cup tomato puree (jarred passata or puree canned tomatoes with immersion blender - no sauce)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream, evaporated milk or coconut milk
1 tsp garam masala
a big handful of chopped cilantro
Pulse the mushrooms in a food processor or chop until it resembles coarse crumbs. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined and let the mixture rest in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.
When it's time to cook the curry, form the tandoori chicken mixture into meatballs - I like them slightly larger than a golf ball and set on a parchment lined tray.
Heat a tbls of ghee or veg oil in a hot, non stick pan and brown the meatballs and remove them to a plate.
Meanwhile, heat your Instant Pot on the Saute setting and wait for it to say "HOT"
Heat the ghee or butter in your instant pot and saute the grated onion for a couple of minutes, stirring almost constantly so that the onion doesn't burn. Add in the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute before adding in the dry spices and saute for a final 30 seconds or so, until it becomes really fragrant. Pour in just a splash of water or chicken broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Now, pour in the tomato puree and the chicken broth , nestle the browned meatballs in the sauce and close up the lid.
Cook on high for 7 minutes and then let it NPR for at least 10 minutes before releasing the remaining steam.
Open the lid and add in the butter and stir gently until it melts into the sauce. Pour in the cream/evaporated milk/coconut milk and the garam masala and lastly, fold in the chopped cilantro.
Serve over basmati rice and top with a bit more chopped cilantro