Zeeshan Shah and Yoshi Yamada’s spicy Indian-Italian mash-up is love at first bite.

By Khushbu Shah
May 19, 2021
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I long believed that it was impossible to improve upon butter chicken. Creamy and deeply spiced with heavy notes of caramelized tomato—it's essentially a perfect dish. But chefs Zeeshan Shah and Yoshi Yamada convinced me otherwise when I ate at their playful Chicago restaurant Superkhana one dark, rainy evening. The menu, which draws inspiration from both Indian and Western techniques and flavors, is filled with hits like Aachari Pork Sandwiches and French Fry Manchurian. But the real star is the Butter Chicken Calzone, which arrives at the table as a piping-hot and puffy semi-circle of innovation and promise. The real magic happens when you take a knife to the dish and out erupts a stream of almost lava-like gravy and molten cheese strings.

At the restaurant, Shah and Yamada deploy a three-day process to make their butter chicken: it's a multistep affair that involves a salt brine, a heavily spiced yogurt marinade, and crafting a gravy with house-made chicken stock. (It's possible to create similarly delicious results in a much quicker time with the help of a few handy shortcuts.)

Butter Chicken Calzone
Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Missy Neville Crawford

The tender, saucy butter chicken is then layered onto chewy naan dough and topped with a blend of mozzarella and Amul cheese, a processed Indian cheese that offers a pleasantly salty note. The cheese blend, which is not a traditional addition to butter chicken, imparts a gooeyness to the calzone that makes it impossible to stop eating. The calzone is baked off and then lacquered with a hefty amount of ghee and Maldon salt — which gives the crust a luxurious edge.

Shah and Yamada went through several iterations of dough before landing on their recipe, which is a bit wetter than most naan doughs. However, this recipe is just as comforting baked in a crust crafted from store-bought pizza dough. Just make sure to brush the cooked calzone with plenty of melty ghee and sprinkle on a flourish of Maldon salt — it'll make you wonder why butter chicken calzones aren't on every menu.

Get the Recipe: Butter Chicken Calzone