Butter Chicken is one of the most popular curries in the world and yet happens to be one of the easiest! No hunting down hard to find ingredients, this is a Chef recipe.
The chicken is incredibly tender and injected with flavour from a yogurt marinade, and the Butter Chicken sauce is so ridiculously delicious, you’ll want it on tap!
Butter Chicken – a Chef recipe!
As someone who loves food with big, BIG flavours, it’s no surprise that Indian is one of my favourite foods. A good curry and binge watching Netflix is pretty much my idea of a perfect Friday night. #NanaAlert!
As much as I love making Indian food at home, sometimes I find the list of ingredients daunting. It’s easy enough to make once I gather all the ingredients, but that’s where I usually fall short because it requires a trip to an Indian grocery store – and my closest one is a fair drive away.
Butter Chicken is one of the few exceptions. I was elated when I discovered a Chef recipe for Butter Chicken and realised how easy it is. But more importantly, you can get all the ingredients from any supermarket. Yes!
Is Butter Chicken really Indian??
YES it is! It’s called Murgh Makhani and it hails from Northern India. It’s quite a mild curry compared to many Indian curries, and outside of India, it’s become just about everybody’s favourite curry!
How to make Butter Chicken – in 3 Simple Steps
- Make Butter Chicken Marinade and marinate chicken for 3+ hours (overnight is best)
- Cook chicken
- Make sauce in the same skillet
The secret to the tender, flavour infused chicken is a spice infused yogurt marinade made with fresh ginger, garlic, lemon juice and spices. The spices in Butter Chicken are turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder and cumin.
Did you know…. The butter flavour in Butter Chicken comes from cream, not butter!
Butter isn’t even used in Indian cooking. Indians use ghee which is a clarified butter. While ghee does have an intense buttery flavour, there is not enough used in this recipe to give it a buttery flavour. In fact, you can just use oil.
Complete your Curry Feast!
Healthy Papadums and Naan
To make a proper Indian feast, sides are essentials! Because every curry needs papadums for dunking and naan to scoop up the sauce with, right?
- No fry quick papadums – just microwave them! Place the papadums around the edge of the microwave turntable and cook on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute or until they are puffed up. They’ll be soft while warm but as soon as they cool down, they crisp up. They don’t expand as much as when deep fried, but neither will your thighs.
- Quick naan – For naan, I made my fast and Easy No Yeast Flatbread which looks and tastes very similar to real naan (except it’s much faster and easier!). Try telling me this doesn’t look like it belongs in this feast!
I hope this has inspired you to try your hand at making an Indian feast at home! You will honestly be amazed how much depth of flavour there is in the Butter Chicken despite how few ingredients are in it. – Nagi x
Butter Chicken Recipe
Watch How To Make It
RECIPE VIDEO below. Oddly, butter is not an ingredient in Butter Chicken, the buttery flavour comes from cream! This is a Chef recipe and is one of the easiest Indian curries to make. The Butter Chicken Sauce is so good that you will want it on tap!
- 1/2 cup plain yoghurt (, full fat)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp tumeric powder
- 2 tsp garam masala ((Note 1))
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper powder ((Note 2))
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1.5 lb / 750 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tbsp ghee OR vegetable oil ((Note 3))
- 1 cup tomato passata (aka tomato puree) ((Note 4))
- 1 cup heavy / thickened cream ((Note 5))
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- Basmati or other Rice
- Coriander/cilantro (optional)
Optional step: for an extra smooth sauce, combine the Marinade ingredients (except the chicken) in a food processor and blend until smooth. (I do not do this)
Combine the Marinade ingredients with the chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours (minimum 3 hrs).
Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large fry pan. Take the chicken out of the Marinade but do not wipe or shake off the marinade from the chicken (but don’t pour the Marinade left in the bowl into the fry pan).
Place chicken in the fry pan and cook for around 3 minutes, or until the chicken is white all over (it doesn’t really brown because of the Marinade).
Add the tomato passata, cream, sugar and salt. Turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Do a taste test to see if it needs more salt.
- Garnish with coriander/cilantro leaves if using. Serve with basmati rice.
- The Butter Chicken is pictured with my very easy No Yeast Flatbread and no-fry papadums (Note 5).
1. Garam Masala is a spice mix that is readily available at supermarkets nowadays. You will find it in the spice section and it costs around the same as other spices.
2. Pure chilli powder – This is not chili powder as Americans know it! American Chili Powder contains things other than ground dried chili. Use pure chili powder or cayenne pepper to add a spice kick. The spiciness is very mild.
3. Ghee is a clarified butter used in Indian cooking (see this Movie Popcorn Butter recipe for more info). For this recipe, it can be substituted with almost any cooking oil, or even butter (but cooking oil is better as it doesn’t brown).
4. Tomato passata is pureed tinned tomatoes. Nowadays it is readily available in supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces. It costs just a tiny bit more, sometimes the same, as canned tomatoes. Called Tomato Puree in America.
If you can’t find it, puree canned tomatoes using a blender. This 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 (full fat or low fat)
6. No Fry Quick Papadums – Place store bought raw papadums (which are really cheap – around $1 for a packet) in the microwave on the edge of the turntable. Then microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until puffed up. They will crisp up when they cool.
7. Adapted from a recipe by Luke Mangan, an Australian chef and restauranteur. The only adjustments I made was to add salt (I am sure it was inadvertently omitted from his recipe) and providing the lighter option for the cream.
Originally published July 2015. Updated for housekeeping matters and a new video in January 2019. And most importantly, Life of Dozer section added!!
Life of Dozer
Flashback: Dozer’s first time in water. Look at those wild eyes!!! Fear? Excitement??