Most people wonder why they didn’t come up with the billion dollar idea for the Post-it or the flask tie/ping pong door/hairy stockings or the Instant Pot, but when I was first presented with a bowl of butter chicken chowder, I wondered why the idea had never occurred to me before. I mean, butter chicken is all about the sauce, right? So why not cut straight to the chase and serve up a bowl of essentially butter chicken sauce with enough chicken, potatoes and peas to make it count as soup? Better yet – chowder, in all its hearty, creamy glory.
I’ve been meaning to make a pot of this since the launch of the latest Soup Sisters cookbook, for which the 11 year old daughter of two chef friends came up with this creation. It’s truly sublime, and the sort of thing you can pull together quickly for dinner. Often when I make butter chicken I streamline things with leftover roasted chicken, and sometimes I just pick up a deli roasted chicken and, when W was not a fan of curry, he’d get the legs while the rest of the meat was shredded and chopped and stirred into the sauce.
I still do this sometimes, not only because it’s fast, but because chicken roasted on the bone has much more flavour. In this case, I used chicken breasts – something I very rarely buy, but for some reason noticed at the grocery store last week that they were almost half the price of thighs. I wonder if the tides are turning and with everyone appreciating a good, flavourful, less expensive thigh, price has actually increased along with demand?
But! Regardless of your chicken of choice, it’s worth turning some into a pot of butter chicken soup so that you can gulp the sauce down by the spoonful. I made a few changes, just because of what I had in my kitchen: a small handful of cilantro went into the masala, only because I love it. And the original recipe called for crushed cashews, which would have been delicious and added richness, but I happened to not have any cashews in the kitchen (if I do, I eat them) – if you do and want to, add about a third of a cup along with the chicken when you return it to the pot.
Also – I used sour cream in place of the heavy cream, because that’s what I have and that’s what Vij uses in his curries, so I knew it would suffice.