Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Joey restaurant at the Eaton center. While there I got to enjoy a lot of tasty food including sushi that was made right in front of you, a meat and cheese board made with local and international ingredients and a penang prawn curry bowl. The dish that stood out the most for me however was the bombay butter chicken and I took that as the perfect excuse to try making at home! (If you are interested in seeing some photos of the opening you can take a look at my flickr gallery .)

Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)

Butter chicken or murgh makhani, is an Indian dish where chicken that is marinated in a yogurt based marinade filled with aromatic spices is served in a buttery and creamy tomato based sauce. The chicken is normally cooked in a tandoor but you can just as easily grill it or cook it up any way you like. As luck would have it, I already had a recipe for a tasty grilled tandoori chicken so I went with that. Up next is the tomato sauce which as the name suggests includes butter along with some cream that makes it a very rich and creamy sauce indeed. (To make things even creamier I also added some almond butter.) One of the primary and characteristic flavours of butter chicken is the fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi which I had never used before so I needed to track them down before hand.

Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)

Although the list of ingredients for the tandoor chicken and the curry combined is quite large the recipe is actually pretty easy. Since the chick should marinate over night anyways you just need to worry about the butter chicken sauce which should leave you with some time to make some rice or even fresh naan to go with the meal. I served the butter chicken garnished with cilantro, toasted almond slices and a drizzle of yogurt, though a dab of melting butter is also really nice.

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Servings: 4

Tender grilled chicken in a creamy and buttery tomato curry

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, toasted and ground
  • 2 cups tomato (fresh or canned), pureed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 batch tandoori chicken
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cashew or almond butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • butter (optional for garnish)
  • cilantro (optional for garnish), chopped
  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cumin and coriander and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and cayenne, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken, honey, fenugreek, almond butter and cream and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the garam masala and salt and remove from heat.
  6. Serve over basmati rice garnished with butter and cilantro.

Option: For One-Pan: Make this a one-pan meal by adding 1 cup of rice and 2 cups broth or water (or 8 ounces of pasta and 2 1/4 cups broth or water) to the sauce in step 5 and simmer, covered, until cooked, about 20 minutes (or 12 minutes for pasta).


Miss Ngo said...

I've been begging my neighbor for her butter chicken recipe for so long. It's the only dish that keeps me from committing to being vegetarian! Thanks for the post!

Heather said...

Yum, yum. Indian food is one of my all time favorite cuisines. This dish looks divine. It looks similar to chicken tikki masala, which is one of the few Indian dishes my husband will eat. I will definitely have to try this soon.

meeso said...

Oooohhhhhh, I LOVE the use of cashew or almond butter!!! No more soaking and grinding nuts! Looks perfect :)

Cakebrain said...

Yum! Love butter chicken!

Aurelia said...

I love butter chicken but I've never thought of making it from scratch. This looks so good though, I may just give it a try! :)

Yumna said...

This looks delicious! I love Butter Chicken, sooo good. :) All your recipes rock!

Yasmeen said...

Looks absolutely decadent, just like good butter chicken should be! Funny, it's not usually what I order, but there are some times when it's the only thing that will do to soothe the aches of a cold day.

~Bee said...

Mm... I've only had the Trader Joes version but this looks amaaazing!

warmvanillasugar said...

Great recipe! You did an awesome job on the traditional dish. Yum!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Extremely mouthwatering! That spicy dish has everything to please me.



Lady B. said...

relly nice and interesting recipe!!

Label me Addict said...

i have to tell you that your an amazing guy who has this awesome blog and i love reading your posts... though i have been following you a long time now... i thought i should leave a proper comment saying how appreciate i am!!

by the way i had this dish in a restaurant before and it's amazing... bursting flavors!!!


The Mistress of Spices said...

Yum!!!! Want. now.

The Procrastobaker said...

I tried out my first butter chicken recipe earlier this year and thought it was totally lovely, yours looks even more flavoursome and i would love to give it a try! :)

SreeBindu said...

It looks deadly delicious! Indian Food!

Saee Koranne-Khandekar said...

Looks so authentic! Am traveling to Punjab this weekend, and your post is making me dream of that lovely butter chicken already!

Joanne said...

Mmm I love finding new Indian recipes to dabble with and this one sounds delicious!

Gourmet forever said...

Waw, sounds amazing!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Butter chicken is my hands down favorite Indian dish....

I must make some soon now that I have this easy peasy recipe!!!

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

The dish I always order from the indian takeaway...might have to give it a go at home now

Helene said...

Drooling over this dish Kevin. I'll have to try it. Love the pics.

Anonymous said...

fantastic recipe - butter chicken just like a bought one! thanks, everyone loved it.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Great shots, Kevin. The butter chicken looks amazing :D

Anonymous said...

I always look for new recipe's to cook online, for my husband and I. This was amazing. He is from West Africe so the typical American/Italian dish (that I thoroughly enjoy) usually doesn't do it for him. Chicken and rice is a staple for him, and this hit the spot. It was so good he was asking for more. Thanks. I'm passing this recipe along, too!


Anonymous said...

Awesome looking Butter Chicken. Yum and delicious.

Jessica said...

I love your site!! This is the first recipe of yours that I tried out, and it was delicious and amazing, and surprisingly simple to make. Thank you!

PDB said...

Amazingly DELISH dish Kevin, as ALL of yours ALWAYS are! I made this w/ Prawns (instead of chicken, just dropping them in at the very end before serving) last night for hubby and he said it was one of my best yet!! I made a few minor changes d/t diet restrictions such as substituting 1c of skim milk & 1/2c Chobani yogurt in place of cream (which curdled a bit at first but after simmering awhile, curdling was gone) and placed 15 almonds and 15 cashews in the milk to soak an hr ahead and then made a nut paste of them. I also only had Fenugreek seeds, on hand, so I pan fried them a little, crushed them, put them in the sauce for approx 15 minutes and then strained them out since the seeds are so bitter but I still wanted a little of their flavor. (I'll use Fenugreek leaves next time ;) ) Along w/ it I served up brown basmati rice w/ sauteed slithered almonds and green chili/onion Masoor Dal Chiladas.
The house has never smelled this good even the next day! Guess what I had for b-fast?! :) Have been playing around w/ several of your pestos and sandwich dishes and they are truly not only the BEST but unique also!! I've also been doing quite a bit of Indian cooking the past few months (primarily curries) served up w/ homeade Chapati's and Dal Chiladas. My husband's favs have been Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani), Prawns Makhani, Prawns & Lobster (Chingri) Malai and Aloo Mutter. I just followed you on Twitter, I hope to hear if and when you do a Malai curry, as I haven't really found a good one thus far, unfortunately. Love your site and soooooooooooooo many WONDERFUL ideas and all of your SCRUMPTIOUS dishes. Gonna try your Pumpkin Gnocchis in a Creamy Gorgonzola tonight. Thank you Kevin!

Kevin said...

PDB: This would be good with prawns and I really like the use of the fresh almond and cashew paste! I am going to have to try that Prawn and Lobster Malai! It sounds really good! Enjoy the Pumpkin Gnocchi!

rhiannon said...

I just made this, and it was fantastic! Thank you for this recipe!

Jenny said...

I just tried making this tonight and it was amazing :-) Thank you so much for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Made it was awseome, added 1tbsp peanut butter and 1tbsp of tahini instead of almond/cashew butter, so awesome. Also used quorn chicken and spiced the chicken instaed of marinating, so yummy.

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