Home‎ > ‎

Butter Chicken - A Classic Indian Recipe

2 kilos chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I use thighs, bone in)
2 tablespoons tandoori masala
1¼ cup plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons oil (or a little less, if you prefer)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste (I use about 1 tsp)

Butter Chicken Sauce

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
3 medium onions, diced fine
4 - 5 whole cloves + 4 pods green cardamom + 1 inch piece of cassia bark + 1/2 star anise (also known as whole spice garam masala)
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
4 fat garlic cloves, grated
2 tablespoons tandoori masala
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne (chilli powder) (increase for spiciness)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) + 1 extra tbsp
2 cups tomato puree (or passata)
1 cup hot stock (or deglazed pan juices from chicken) +  1/2 cup extra stock (in case sauce is too thick)
1 cup whipping cream (or half and half)
3 tbsp cashewnut paste
Salt to taste (I use about 2 tsp)
1/2 tbsp sugar

Fresh cream + fresh chopped coriander leaves to garnish


Whisk together the tandoori masala, yoghurt, ginger/ garlic, garam masala, paprika, oil, lemon juice and salt to make the marinade for the chicken.

Marinate the chicken pieces in the marinade, ideally overnight, at least 4 hours.

The next day, preheat the oven to 450 F. Lay the chicken down in a single layer on a baking tray, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Gently strain out the chicken juices from the tray into the pot after lifting the chicken pieces out of the tray and laying them on a baking sheet. Grill the chicken pieces for about 5 minutes, to get a smoky chargrilled flavour.

You can also barbeque the chicken for an authentic tandoori flavour, but you won't get any pan juices (in which case you will use stock for the sauce)

To make the sauce:

Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter and the oil in a deep pot.

Add the finely diced onions to the pan, along with the whole spice garam masala. Fry on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes, until the edges are beginning to go golden brown and the onion is very soft.

Add the grated ginger and garlic to the onion/ spice mixture, and fry for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the tandoori masala, garam masala, chilli powder, ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon kasuri methi to the above mixture. Fry for 10 seconds.

Add the tomato puree to the onion mixture. Stir and fry together for about 15 minutes until the mixture comes together in a gooey mass, and becomes hard to stir. The oil will also start to separate at this point.

At this point, add the hot stock or deglazed pan juices from the chicken. Stir well.

Season with the salt.

Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to coat the pieces with the sauce.

If at this point the sauce is too thick, you can add about 1/2 cup of stock at a time to think it out a bit.

Pour the whipping cream into a bowl. Take some of the tomatoey sauce, and add to the cream in the bowl, whisking together. This will ensure that the cream won't split when you add it to the sauce.

Slowly add the cream to the sauce, stirring well as you go along.

Add the remaining tablespoon of kasuri methi to the sauce.

Add the cashew paste to the sauce as well, stirring to make sure its well incorporated.
Check the seasoning and add more salt, if necessary. Add the sugar to the sauce and stir well.

Simmer on a very low heat for about 5 - 10 minutes, until the sauce is very thick and chicken pieces are well coated.

Garnish with fresh coriander and a splash of cream.

Serve with pulao or naan for an unforgettable Indian meal.


To make tomato puree, blanch and peel 4 medium tomatoes. Blend until well pureed in a powerful blender. You can also use passata or Italian strained tomatoes instead of fresh tomato puree.

To make cashew nut paste, place a large handful of cashews in a bowl. Add enough milk to cover the cashews and let them soak for an hour. Using a powerful blender, blend to a paste, using a little more milk, if necessary.

If you have a nut allergy, use 2 tbsp cornstarch slaked in 4 tablespoons milk to thicken the sauce. The cream will thicken the sauce as well, and you may not need to use it at all.

Recipe from: http://foodfootballandababy.blogspot.com/
Author: Michelle Peters - Jones
Please do not plagiarise