Saturday, 2 June 2012

Butter Chicken

Let's take a trip to India with Murgh Makhani! (Photos coming VERY soon!)
Butter Chicken is something I expected to be very difficult to make but it was surprisingly easy and surpassed my expectations in taste. It's probably one of the best curries that I have ever tried, and I was very pleased with the results. Of course, we ate it with homemade naan, which was equally as simple and delicious. Next time, I'll also make a simple biryani to go with it. I did a little research and used that as my guide to this recipe, using the same basic ingredients but making it personal.
Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is part of the Mughlai cuisine, popular in countries all over the world. The cuisine is strongly influenced by Persian, and Turkic cuisines of Central Asia. The dish became a common name across the world by the Sikh diaspora from Punjab. The origins of butter chicken can be traced back to a man named Kundan Lal Gujral, who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal Delux in Peshawar before the partition of British India. With the partition of British India, Moti Mahal moved to New Delhi. Butter Chicken is regarded to have been first introduced by Moti Mahal in New Delhi. Butter chicken is usually served with naan, roti, parathas or steamed rice. It should not be confused with Chicken tikka masala, a similarly coloured Indian chicken dish that originated among the South Asian diaspora in the U.K..
Murgh Makhani/Butter Chicken
(Serves 4)


  • 1½ lbs. chicken
  • Chadon beni/Cilantro
  • Chive
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Small onion
  • Garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 3 tbsp. garam masala/amchar masala
  • ½ c. plain yoghurt/sour cream (optional)
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 140z. can tomato sauce
  • ½ c. plus 2 tbsp. cream 
  • 3 tbsp. garam masala/amchar masala
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 tbsp. roasted geera (cumin)
  • 1 tbsp. methi/fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp. all spice
  • 1 tsp. saffron
  • 1 tbsp. ginger
  • 1 tbsp. garlic
  • 1 tbsp. chili flakes
  • 1 pimento/green chili
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 10oz. can peas and carrots (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. mustard oil
  1. Cut chicken into small 2" pieces. I used bone in, skin on chicken, thighs and breast pieces mix.
  2. Chop onions, chadon beni, chive, parsley, thyme and garlic. Add to chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add masala and yoghurt. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. I skipped the refrigeration and it was still superb.
  4. When ready to cook, heat oil in a skillet (or saucepan, to use just one) and add chicken. Cook chicken on both sides for a few minutes until browned and cooked through.
  5. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  6. Combine masala, curry, geera, methi and all spice in small bowl. Grate ginger and garlic, and mince pimento/chili. 
  7. Add 1 tbsp. of oil (optional) to the pan and lightly saute the chili flakes, pimento, ginger and garlic. 
  8. Pour  ½ c. of water into the pan. Stir briefly, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add spice mixture and stir briefly.
  10. Pour tomato sauce and  ½ c. cream to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cover. Allow sauce to simmer and thicken for a few minutes. 
  11. Remove cover and add butter to sauce. Add chicken back to the pan, along with the tin of peas, if using. Cover and simmer for another couple of minutes.
  12. Remove cover, season with additional salt and pepper if necessary, and remove from heat. Stir in remaining cream, and serve!

I must admit that this was one meal that I was extremely satisfied with. Served with butter-chive naan, it was perfect. The naan is wonderful for all the gravy that comes with butter chicken, which in my opinion, is the best part. Of course, the measurements are not necessarily exact, and can be adjusted based on different tastes. Use your discretion and enjoy! Who knew it was so easy to make butter chicken at home?!

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