Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani

butter chicken 2

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.

Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani 1

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

Let’s start by making the Makhani Masala which is a thick tomato based sauce.

butter chicken 2

Makhni Masala


  • 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


  1. In a saucepan, heat some oil and add ginger, garlic, cinnamon and cardamom. Let it sizzle for a few minutes.
  2. Next, add tomato puree, salt, cinnamon powder, kasuri methi, chilly powder and mix them properly.
  3. Add 1 cup hot water.
  4. Bring the heat down to medium, cover the saucepan and let it cook for about 15 mins.
  5. 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.

Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani 2

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.

Did you enjoy this Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • sawsan@chef in disguise
    [email protected] in disguise
    May 16, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    That is one amazing recipe Kankana!
    bookmarked for sure!

  • Nandini
    May 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM

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

  • Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    May 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    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
    May 16, 2011 at 11:15 PM

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

  • Priya
    May 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM

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

  • Vimitha
    May 17, 2011 at 2:06 AM

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

  • Tandy
    May 17, 2011 at 2:40 AM

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

  • Manu
    May 17, 2011 at 4:25 AM

    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
    May 17, 2011 at 4:32 AM

    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
    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    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
    May 17, 2011 at 5:40 AM

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

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      May 17, 2011 at 9:18 AM

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

  • Reva
    May 17, 2011 at 6:20 AM

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

  • yummychunklet
    May 17, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    This looks absolutely delicious!

  • Krithi
    May 17, 2011 at 7:48 AM

    In a word.. exotic!


  • Xiaolu
    May 17, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    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
    May 17, 2011 at 11:51 AM

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

  • Kate@Diethood.com
    [email protected]
    May 17, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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

  • Mike
    May 17, 2011 at 1:57 PM

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

  • Charissa
    May 17, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    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
    Shu Han
    May 17, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    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
    May 17, 2011 at 5:49 PM

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

  • torviewtoronto
    May 17, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    delicious looking butter chicken looks fabulous

  • Ameena
    May 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM

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

  • Sarah
    May 17, 2011 at 11:18 PM

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

  • Sawsan@ chef in disguises
    [email protected] chef in disguises
    May 18, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    I have a few awards for you on my blog 🙂

  • Tina (PinayInTexas)
    Tina (PinayInTexas)
    May 18, 2011 at 8:22 AM

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

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    May 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM

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

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    May 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    typo error wanted to say as always!:))

  • Juliana
    May 18, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    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
    May 18, 2011 at 5:37 PM

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

  • Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    [email protected]
    May 18, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    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
    May 18, 2011 at 7:10 PM

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

  • Maria @ Scandifoodie
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    May 19, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    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
    May 19, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    wow this looks so good and with the roti heaven

  • nisha
    May 19, 2011 at 5:35 AM

    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
    Lin Ann
    May 19, 2011 at 1:13 PM

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

  • Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen
    May 19, 2011 at 5:28 PM

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

  • Mrinalini
    May 20, 2011 at 7:07 PM

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

  • Ananda Rajashekar
    Ananda Rajashekar
    May 22, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    those roties with curry make me drool! yum!

  • alex at a moderate life!
    alex at a moderate life!
    May 24, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    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
    May 30, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    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
    June 21, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    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

  • Ashley @ Cooking for One
    Ashley @ Cooking for One
    October 31, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    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!