Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) 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 that makes the most incredible curry sauce.
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….You don’t need copious amounts of butter for a great Butter Chicken!
The beautiful Butter Chicken Sauce mostly gets its richness from cream. While some restaurants take it over the top by stirring in a (very!) generous amount of butter into the sauce at the end, I find that it’s rich enough as it is. The Butter Chicken flavour and experience – but less oily than restaurant versions!
The sauce will initially be a pale orange colour but as it simmers and thickens, the colour will depend to a rich orange colour.
What to serve with Butter Chicken
To make a proper Indian feast, sides and starters 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. 😂
- Samosas! The ultimate Indian appetiser. Leftovers make great snacks or even lunch!
- Proper naan – A recipe in the works for 5 years, I’m thrilled to finally share my proper naan recipe that can be easily made at home (no tandoor needed!)
- Shortcut “naan” – For a simpler, no-yeast flatbread that’s just as good, my Easy No Yeast Flatbread 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!
And it’s MADE for dunking in that creamy Butter Chicken Sauce!!
Readers have also asked for Vegetable Side options – to add some greens to a meal. Indian food doesn’t really have fresh side salads like in Western cuisine. Partly because so much Indian food is vegetarian, so you get plenty of veggies in your diet!
But here are some Vegetable Side Options you can add on the side of Butter Chicken:
- Indian Tomato Salad – with a refreshing minted yogurt dressing;
- Cucumber salad with lemon yogurt dressing – another great refreshing salad that goes perfectly with curries;
- Just some sliced cucumber and wedges of tomato – not dressed. Nice cool, refreshing side
- South Indian Thoran-style Cabbage and Carrot Salad with Coconut is fresh, crunchy and shot through with gentle spices and coconut!
- For a simpler cabbage salad, try my Everyday Cabbage Salad
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
- 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
- 2 tbsp (30 g) ghee or butter, OR 1 tbsp 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
- Optional blitz: 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)
- Marinade: Combine the Marinade ingredients with the chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours (minimum 3 hrs).
- Cook chicken: Heat the ghee (butter or 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).
- Sauce: 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).
Originally published July 2015. Updated for housekeeping matters and a new video added January 2019. But most importantly, Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
Flashback: Dozer’s first time in water. Look at those wild eyes!!! 😂 Fear? Excitement??