There is Butter Chicken. And then, there is Anaarkali Butter Chicken. Thank you Dhempe for introducing me to this one! For the uninitiated, the Anaarkali Butter Chicken is the product of hard work and passion of two butter chicken enthusiasts – I B Saxena and Padma Prasad. Apparently this team of two worked for eight years to come up with a Butter Chicken so good, that you cannot source it anywhere in the world. But if you make a donation of Rupees 1,00,000 (a little over $2,000) to the Akshaya Patra Foundation you will get to taste the real Anaarkali Butter Chicken. What you get in return is a pyramid-shaped, hand-packed cardboard box containing the premium pack of 1300 grams of bliss served in a Borosil bowl garnished with black olives and real gold and silver varq.
For the penniless like me, who could probably do with some donations herself, they also have a sample recipe on their website. For free!Today, I had the taste of this sample Anaarkali Butter Chicken cooked by who else – yours truly. I like to throw my self food challenges like these in a typical Bobby Flay style and pretend I am some great cook!
Before I took on the daunting task of making this recipe, I did get a chance to ask Padma Prasad one basic question, the answer to which the sample recipe did not have – what portion of chicken should I use? Okay, maybe that was a dumb thing to ask. She was prompt in responding on Facebook, and I used what she suggested – breast portions. Well, that was the easy bit. But what was not so easy, was to shop for the pretty exhaustive list of ingredients which were all thankfully available under the same roof. Its another thing that some people found a certain five feet something running from aisle to aisle because of a badly written grocery list.
But I wonder as I sit back and write this post if the Father of Butter Chicken, the Punjabi-Pathan called Kundal Lal Gujral would approve of the parmesan and cheddar cheese that has gone into the marinade of this dish. Or the subtle sweet flavor of the moss–colored dry basil leaves. But then he believed in revolutionizing food too, and that’s what Anaarkali Butter Chicken does! I think its brilliant how people turn something good into spectacular, leaving a legacy for others to follow.
And follow I did - dotting the i's and crossing the t's, figuratively speaking of course. Every ingredient and every step was followed, careful not to miss anything in the recipe. Yes, and I even measured that one-eighth teaspoon of mace and 45 grams of green chilies!!!!
Here is photographic evidence of how I made the sample recipe of the Anaarkali Butter Chicken.
At the end of the Naan, Anaarkali Butter Chicken and Garden Salad dinner, I thought I was in butter chicken heaven saying hello to the baap of all Butter Chicken!