Curry Station's Butter Chicken Offers Comfort and Flavor

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Butter Chicken is unique amongst dishes in that one does not need to scour crumbling clay tablets or ancient Roman texts to track down the origins of the recipe. Its creator has a name, Kundan Lal Jaggi; its first preparation has a specific location, Moti Majal; and its conception can even be traced back to a specific year, 1947. But, if it lacks the mystique of an ancient origin story, it more than makes up for it with a veritable apothecary of spices that are believed by practitioners of centuries old Ayurvedic medicine to bolster the immune system. And though Curry Station on Clark Road cannot guarantee the medicinal efficacy of the ingredients, their take on the modern dish does guarantee the comfort and flavor that Indian cuisine is known for.

Chef/Owner Narendra Singh Saud trained under all the great masters in India, picking up the nuances of the dish along the way. His YouTube recipe video for the dish showcases his deep understanding of its preparation as well as its complexity, with ramekins of turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powders, as well as garam masala (itself a blend of many spices), kasoori methi (fenugreek), garlic, ginger, bay leaf, butter, yogurt, heavy cream, milk powder and honey—an encyclopedia of ingredients. The gravy is comprised of sautéed tomatoes, onions, cashews, kasoori methi, turmeric powder and water, which are all cooked down into a stew before milk powder is added—“it’s my secret ingredient to make it really rich,” he says in the video. Then, the tomato-based stew is pureed in a blender and strained to give the gravy the velvety texture that has helped make the dish so famous around the world. The chicken, which marinates overnight in yogurt and spices, then gets sautéed in butter with a dash of olive oil before being tossed in the gravy to finish cooking. 

Just before plating, honey and heavy cream get drizzled into the sauce and mixed in, contributing the final dash of sweetness and creaminess that makes the dish such a beloved staple of Curry Station’s lunch buffet (currently not operating) and takeout program. “The loss of our lunch buffet has been one of the hardest parts of all this,” says Saud, “but we are very blessed to have such loyal customers that have been so supportive.” Bolstered by the popularity of their Butter Chicken, Curry Station has been able to continue paying its staff and its bills during the restaurant closures that have seen some outfits fold. “I think Butter Chicken is just universally liked,” says Saud, “even kids, who can be picky eaters, love it.” And, as though anyone needs another reason to eat Butter Chicken, it also reheats well.

Curry Station is open Monday through Saturday for lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and for dinner from 5 pm to 9 pm. Contact-free takeout and curbside delivery is available while sit-down dining is limited.

Photo courtesy of Curry Station, 3550 Clark Road, Sarasota, 941-924-7222

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