Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani

Sometimes you can almost predict that how amazing the dish is going to be, even before you finish cooking it. You can smell the aroma, hear the sizzle, see the color and you start to feel hungry. But you don’t want to taste it yet.. You want all the spices to play around and do the magic so that you get the best taste at the end. It is always worth the wait!

This is exactly what was happening with me when I was making Butter Chicken for the first time. It’s Arvind’s favorite chicken dish and I didn’t want to mess it up! My idea of butter chicken was so silly.. I thought that it’s cooked with butter and that’s why the name. Until I saw the amazing recipe in Soma’s blog eCurry.

Origin of the dish.. How often do you hear that!  This time you will 🙂 Butter Chicken has a very interesting history. This dish was first introduced by a restaurant called Moti Mahal in New Delhi.The origins of butter chicken can be traced back to Kundan Lal Gujral, a Hindu Punjabi, who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal Delux in Delhi“. It’s a very rich dish which involves cream, butter, almonds and cashews. If you google, you will find different variations of the recipe.. including lighter versions too. We wanted the rich creamy buttery version. Well, we did run on the tread-mill a little longer next day. And we cut down on butter and cream the next few days 😉

At first, I thought it might be a complicated recipe but as soon as I read Soma’s recipe, I realized that you could make the Makhani Masala/Buttery Sauce in advance and even store it in air tight jar for few days in the refrigerator. Once you have the sauce ready, making the dish is super easy. It just requires some prep time.

This will serve 4

Lets start by making the Makhani Masala which is a thick tomato based sauce.

Ingredients : (yields 1+1/2 cup)

  • 3 cups tomato puree
  • 1 tbs ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tbs garlic, finely grated
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1/2 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves. it is easily available in any Indian Grocery store)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 green chilly, chopped
  • salt
  • oil

Directions :

In a saucepan, heat some oil and add ginger, garlic, cinnamon and cardamom. Let it sizzle for a few minutes.

Next, add tomato puree, salt, cinnamon powder, kasuri methi, chilly powder and mix them properly.

Add 1 cup hot water.

Bring the heat down to medium, cover the saucepan and let it cook for about 15 mins.

When you see the oil separating from the side and the sauce looks thick dark red in color, turn off the gas. The makhani masala is ready.

Now lets start with the chicken

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb chicken (you can use bone as well boneless pieces but they should be skinless)
  • 1 tbs plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbs garlic, finely grated
  • 1/2 tbs ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp chilly powder
  • 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 to 7 almonds, roasted and then grated to a fine paste
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup cilantro for garnish, finely chopped
  • salt
  • oil

Directions :

In a bowl, marinate the chicken with yogurt, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, lemon juice, chilly powder and salt. You need to let it marinate for at-least 4 hours (marinating overnight works really well).

In a pan, heat 2 tbs oil and fry the chicken pieces for about 3 minutes on each side. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Once done, take them out and let them rest.

In the same pan, add the makhani masala/sauce that you made before and reduce the heat.

Add the almond paste, salt and cover the pan. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

Next, add the chicken pieces and stir them properly to make sure it’s evenly mixed with the sauce. If the sauce get’s too thick, add 1/2 cup hot water.

Cover and cook for another 8 minutes.

Add garam masala powder, cream and mix everything properly. Check for salt and add if required.

at last add the butter give it a toss and  garnish it with chopped cilantro.

Serve it with rice or bread of your choice.

There was some leftover from dinner and we had it the next day for lunch. It tasted much better the next day. But, that’s just me. I always tend to enjoy it more the next day. I think it brings more flavor to the dish.

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That is one amazing recipe Kankana!
bookmarked for sure!

Nandini says:

I just can’t stop drooling! I really would love to have some with a few naans…

HMMMM! This is my first time to hear about this recipe, but by looking at the pictures and reading your ingredients, I’d definitely love to try! Looks so delicious! Great photos totally captured my interest!

Kimberley says:

I am always interested in new ways of making chicken. Looks like a winner!

Priya says:

Delicious,rich and soo tempting butter chicken,feel like finishing that whole bowl..

Vimitha says:

I love butter chicken with naan and order the combo mostly when I visit a restaurant… Ur gravy looks so rich and inviting…

Tandy says:

I love butter chicken – and you are the second person I know who has just made it for the first time 🙂

Manu says:

Butter chicken is what I ALWAYS order at the restaurant… I make it too, but my recipe is much more complicated than this… so I am surely going to try yours next time: it looks perfect! There is an award waiting for you here: http://www.manusmenu.com/pumpkin-and-barley-soup Come pick it up! 🙂

Joanne says:

I’ve always been intrigued by butter chicken and yours looks so good that now I really NEED to try it! I’m drooling over here!

Karishma says:

I have bookmarked this recipe,Kankana…never found a butter chicken recipe simple enough for me to have the patience to try at home..most of them required the chicken to be grilled…this one is easier and how I love the butter and cream and almonds…ahh! Of course I don’t have to tell you how mouthwateringly tempting your pics are…as always!

Soma says:

happy that you liked it and thank you so much for the mention! your butter chicken looks way better than mine!!

kankana says:

You got to be kidding me Soma… yours looks so authentic and perfectly photographed.

Reva says:

I love this dish.. looks so yum… truly heart warming:)

This looks absolutely delicious!

Xiaolu says:

I would eat almost anything if it’s in this sauce. My boyfriend liikes the chicken and I love butter paneer. Your version looks to die for :).

Faith says:

I can just imagine the heavenly aroma of this dish…chicken makhani is one of my favorites and yours looks incredible!

What a gorgeous dish! I love the smell that signals a delicious meal!!
That sauce sounds so good!

Mike says:

I’ve been wanting to make butter chicken! This looks excellent! So bright and rich looking!

Charissa says:

I forgot to have lunch today so this is making my life very hard right now because this soup/dish looks SOOOO good! I must have it….must, must!

Shu Han says:

that looks really simple to do! I’ve been wanting to try it out properly but been put off by the long lisr of ignredients. this looks nice and similar! I admit I’ve done sth similar with yogurt, i..e a light version, but no way am i calling it butter chicken, it’s definitely not the same rich dish (although still yummy with a different sort of tangy flavour). thanks for sharing! definitely worth the extra exercise (:


Srivalli says:

Hi came thr foodgawker, your pictures are very pretty!..will read through the rest..

delicious looking butter chicken looks fabulous

Ameena says:

Until I read Soma’s blog I thought it was named after the butter used in the recipe as well! 🙂

Sarah says:

This looks lovely! I have to try out ur version!

I have a few awards for you on my blog 🙂

Your butter chicken looks really good, Kankana! Would love to try this!

Outstanding dish..never had it before, but would love some hahaha
As alwyas your photos are amazing!

typo error wanted to say as always!:))

Juliana says:

Wow, this chicken dish sure looks so tasty with all the nice and tasty spices…the color is just amazing…would love to have with a bowl of white rice. Beautiful pictures…hope you are having a wonderful week Kankana 🙂

Tiffany says:

What a hearty dish! Perfect for a cool, spring night!

One of P’s fav.He can eat it almost daily.I love the trademark color that you have brought about in your pictures .Looks yumm..feel like licking the sauce 🙂

aipi says:

This is a dish that never gets old ~ timeless classic! Perfectly recreated 🙂
US Masala

I’ll definitely give your recipe a go. I’ve made a similar dish a couple of times, but they never looked this good! My partner will LOVE this!

rebecca says:

wow this looks so good and with the roti heaven

nisha says:

im such a sucker for butter chicken, but the fast that it is so difficult to make, makes me cringe..so i kinda avoid it as much as i can, until my craving takes over 🙂

Lin Ann says:

Your version looks and sounds amazing. Nothing wrong with a little butter and cream now and then!

Not only does this look delicious but I am loving your photo styling! These are beautiful!!

Mrinalini says:

Kankana, I am inspired to make chicken makhani your style tomorrow and chicken biryani my style! The recipe looks delicious!!

those roties with curry make me drool! yum!

Kankana, so sorry I am late to dinner but you know I have been having computer problems! So glad I didn’t miss this! I know my husband also, like Arvind thinks butter chicken is absolutely the best Indian dish! I also feel the same way as you when cooking up a dish that I know is going to be delicious! I actually ask my kids to taste it so that I can be simply delighted by the final product! We have a great Indian store near us and I will get some fenugreek, and try this recipe one weekend soon! Thanks so much for your sunshine today and for being such a lovely hearth and soul hop host! big hugs! Alex

vidhya,UAE says:

hi kankana – ur blog is so beautiful – amazing collection of recipes n excellent photos to go with it.

am writing this to tell ya that i tried butter chicken and its just yum:)
ive been wantn to try a butter chicken recipe for ages – am glad i got a very simple version n tasty as well…good wishes always.

Neetu says:

nice recipe. thanks for sharing. Here is video for indian butter chicken recipe by Jeet sidhu – http://www.gdayindia.com.au/butter-chicken-recipe-by-chef-jeet-sidhu

I’m new to this site but it is quickly becoming a favorite. I have always loved Indian food (my dad and I share a bond over it) but I’m always nervous to try recipes for fear of failing miserably. However, your recipes seem very doable and here in New York there are tons of Indian supermarkets so I should have no problem getting all ingredients. I’ll try to eat this the day after making it, if it lasts long enough!