Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) is one of the most popular curries in the world and yet one of the easiest! No hunting for hard-to-find ingredients, it’s a Chief Recipe who makes the most amazing curry sauce.
The chicken is incredibly tender and infused with the flavor of a yogurt marinade, and the butter chicken sauce is so ridiculously delicious you’ll want it on tap!
Butter chicken – a chef’s recipe!
As someone who loves food with big, BIG flavors, it’s no surprise that Indian is one of my favorite foods. A good curry and a binge watching Netflix is pretty much my idea of a perfect Friday night. #AlertNana! 😂
Although I love making Indian food at home, I sometimes find the ingredient list daunting. It’s easy enough to make once I’ve got all the ingredients together, but that’s where I usually fall short as it requires a trip to an Indian grocery store – and the closest is a good drive away .
Butter chicken is one of the few exceptions. I was thrilled when I discovered a chef’s recipe for butter chicken and realized how easy it’s. But more important, you can get all the ingredients in any supermarket. Yes!
Is butter chicken really Indian? ?
Yes it is! His name is Murgh Makhani and he comes from northern India. It’s quite a mild curry compared to many Indian curries, and outside of India it’s become everyone’s favorite curry!
How to make butter chicken – in 3 easy steps
Make the butter chicken marinade and marinate the chicken for more than 3 hours (overnight is best)
Cook the chicken
Make the sauce in the same skillet
The secret to tender, fragrant chicken is a spice-infused yogurt marinade made with fresh ginger, garlic, lemon juice and spices. Butter chicken spices are turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder and cumin.
Did you know… You don’t need large amounts of butter for good butter chicken!
The beautiful butter chicken sauce mainly gets its richness from the cream. While some restaurants take it a step further by adding a (very!) generous amount of butter to the sauce at the end, I find it quite rich as it is. The flavor and experience of butter chicken – but less oily than restaurant versions!
The sauce will initially be a pale orange color, but as it simmers and thickens the color will intensify to a rich orange color.
What to serve with butter chicken
To make a real Indian feast, accompaniments and starters are essential! Because every curry needs papadums for dipping and naan for scooping up the sauce, right?
Quick papadums without frying – just put them in the microwave! Place the papadums around the edge of the microwave turntable and cook on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute or until puffed. They will be soft when hot, but when they cool they will crisp up. They don’t expand as much as when fried, but neither will your thighs. 😂
Samosas! The Indian aperitif par excellence. Leftovers make great snacks or even lunch!
Good naan – A recipe that’s been in the works for 5 years, I’m thrilled to finally share my own naan recipe that can be easily made at home (no tandoor needed!)
Shortcut “naan” – For an easier and just as good yeast-free flatbread, my easy flatbread without yeast looks and tastes very similar to real naan (except it’s much faster and easier!). Try telling me it doesn’t look like it belongs in this feast!
And it’s MADE for dipping in that creamy butter chicken sauce!!
Readers also asked for vegetable side options – to add greens to a meal. Indian cuisine doesn’t really have fresh salads like in western cuisine. Partly because a lot of Indian food is vegetarian, so you have plenty of vegetables in your diet!
But here are some Vegetable side options you can add next to the Butter Chicken:
Hope this has inspired you to try cooking an Indian feast at home! You’ll honestly be amazed at the depth of flavor in butter chicken despite how few ingredients it contains. –Nagi x
Butter Chicken Recipe
Watch how to do it
Preperation: ten minutes
To cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings3 – 4
Tap or hover to scale
VIDEO RECIPE above. It’s a chef’s recipe and it’s one of the easiest Indian curries to make. Butter Chicken Sauce is so good you’ll want it on tap! Many restaurants take it a step further by adding large amounts of ghee or butter to the sauce, but you’ll find it quite rich as is the rich creamy sauce!
Optional Blitz: for an extra smooth sauce, combine marinade ingredients (except chicken) in a food processor and blend until smooth. (I do not do it)
Marinade: Combine the marinade ingredients with the chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours (minimum 3 hours).
Cook the chicken: Heat the ghee (butter or oil) over high heat in a large frying pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade but do not wipe or shake the marinade from the chicken (but do not pour the remaining marinade into the bowl into the frying pan).
Place the chicken in the frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the chicken is white all over (it doesn’t really brown from the marinade).
Sauce: Add the tomato puree, cream, sugar and salt. Add any remaining marinade to the bowl as well. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Do a taste test to see if it needs more salt.
Garnish with cilantro/cilantro leaves if desired. Serve with basmati rice.
Butter Chicken is pictured with my Very Easy No Yeast Flatbread and No Fry Papadums (Note 5).
2. Pure chilli powder – It’s not chilli powder as the Americans know it! American Chili Powder contains things other than ground dried chili. Use pure chili powder or cayenne pepper to add a spicy kick. The spiciness is very mild.
3. Ghee is a clarified butter used in Indian cooking (see this recipe from Movie Popcorn Butter for more information). For this recipe, it can be substituted with butter or almost any neutral-flavored cooking oil.
4. Tomato Pasta is a canned tomato puree. These days it is readily available in supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces. It just costs a little more, sometimes the same, than canned tomatoes. Called tomato puree in America.
If you can’t find any, puree the canned tomatoes using a blender. It will also work with what is called “tomato sauce” in America (Australia! Don’t use what we call tomato sauce!)
5. For a lighter version, use OR for a lighter version, use 3/4 cup light cream + 1/4 cup milk (whole or low fat)
6. Quick No-Fry Papadums – Place raw store-bought papadums (which are really cheap – about $1 a pack) in the microwave on the edge of the turntable. Then microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until puffed. They will crisp up as they cool.
7. Adapted based on a recipe by Luke Mangan, an Australian chef and restaurateur. The only adjustments I made were to add salt (I’m sure it was inadvertently omitted from his recipe) and to provide the lighter option for the cream.
Portion: 310gcalories: 402callus (20%)Carbohydrates: 9.8g (3%)Protein: 39.8g (80%)Fat: 23.4g (36%)Saturated fat: 9.3g (58%)Cholesterol: 193mg (64%)Sodium: 928mg (40%)Fiber: 0.9g (4%)Sugar: 6.5g (7%)
Originally published in July 2015. Updated for interview questions and a new video added in January 2019. But most importantly, the Life of Dozer section has been added!
The life of the bulldozer
Flashback: the first time a bulldozer is in the water. Look at those wild eyes!!! 😂 Afraid? Excitation??