Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Butter Chicken

It wouldn't be inappropriate if I call this dish the most popular Indian dish in the whole wide world! Murgh Makhani is from Punjab, India. It became a common name across the world as the Sikhs spread out of Punjab, more towards the UK and Canada. Often I have noticed that it confused with chicken tikka masala, a similar colored dish that is not even Indian! It was invented in the UK by a Bangladeshi immigrant that's what I've heard!

For so many people, making butter chicken is a daunting task. Well, it shouldn't be that way. It's actually very easy to make butter chicken at home. Making it at home is the easiest way one can control the amount of butter and cream that go into the dish. The dauting task should be eating the butter chicken! With all that butter, heavy cream etc in the dish, it makes it truly an indulgence, something you can have once in a blue moon.

Butter chicken tastes best when the chicken is marinated overnight with yogurt and spice mixture and then cooked in the oven. So it's a two step process. Make the chicken and sauce separately. One can grill or pan fry the chicken. I prefer roasting it in the oven.

The sauce is made by heating and mixing butter, pureed tomatoes and various spices, alongwith the fresh heavy cream and cashew paste which gives the sauce that rich flavor and aroma. Addition of the cashew paste makes the sauce thicker. Dried fenugreek leaves are also the must-have part of this dish. Without this ingredient, it's simply not butter chicken! Kasoori methi contributes to the characteristic flavour of the dish.

Once the sauce is prepared, the prepared chicken is chopped and cooked just until the sauce and chicken have blended. The dish may be garnished with white butter, fresh cream, sliced green chillies and crushed fenugreek leaves.

This particular post is to show off that my butter chicken recipe was selected for our company's 2012 diversity calendar!  I've made that recipe a bit more general and easy to follow as not all people know what kasoori methi is all about. I tried to make it as easy as I can and believe me, I am getting lots of complements on it!

Butter Chicken
For chicken:
2 lbs. boneless chicken
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp crushed kasoori methi
Salt to taste
1 tbsp garam masala powder
1 tsp each cumin, coriander and cayenne powders
Ginger-garlic paste to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon

For sauce
1/4 cup butter
About 1 cup pureed tomatoes
Powdered spices like cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, paprika to taste
Salt to taste
1/4 cup cashew pieces, soaked in warm water and then make thin paste
2 tbsp kasoori methi, crushed
About 1/2 cup fresh heavy cream

How to:

Mix chicken cubes with marinade ingredients and leave overnight in the fridge. Roast or grill chicken till they are completely cooked.

In the meantime, prepare butter sauce. Heat up the butter on medium high till it melts completely. Now add tomoto puree, the spice powders, kasoori methi and cook till the oil separates. Add cooked chicken pieces and gently stir in cashew paste and heavy cream. Heat till the sauce bubbles and serve.

This is a seriously fatty dish. I have tried a few different versions of making it less fatty and less rich, trust me, it didn’t taste anywhere near the original!

Please let your emails/comments keep coming! it's been great and thanks for your kindness and love!


  1. Simply delicious and mouthwatering butter chicken. When are you inviting me to get a taste of it :) ?

    Hamaree Rasoi

  2. love the creamy gravy..simply fabulous!!
    Wishing you a very Happy New Year!!

    Erivum Puliyum

  3. Yumm,super rich looking butter chicken,makes me hungry.

  4. very delicious butter chicken, looks perfect restaurant style..congrats on getting featured..

  5. which one is correct recipe? in blog or picture card?

  6. They are both correct recipes..the picture recipe is a milder version as I created it for my co-workers.. another recipe is for South Asians with spices like kasoori methi etc.

  7. Thanks for reply. I appreciate it.. I will try the indian version. Thanks.