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Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)


Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani

This rich, buttery, creamy chicken needs no introduction. Most probably the best known of all Indian dishes, it has already claimed the fame that it deserves.

A heartwarming favorite at home, a staple at most Indian restaurants, this north Indian dish has made its place in every corner of the world. And here I am, finally posting the recipe of this favorite dish. I have been seeing searches in my blog for the Butter Chicken and Naan and realized that I have not posted either one of them. (Update: Now Posted)

There are many who know not where India is, but is well aware of the culinary map; there is an instant spark and recognition at the utterance of “Butter Chicken”. Such is the magic of gastronomy. Food makes the world smaller and friendlier, provides a base for conversation between two people who might have nothing in common.

Butter Chicken

There are not many Indian restaurants that do not serve Butter Chicken.  In our home,  Murgh Makhani served in the restaurants is also a measuring tool to judge the quality of the  restaurant. If a restaurant cannot whip up a good Murgh Makhani, the kind that will leave you stuffed and satisfied yet craving for more, that restaurant is not worth stepping into the second time around.

The recipe is said to have originated in a restaurant called Moti Mahal in Delhi, India. “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” (Wiki)

Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani Recipe

Murgh Makhani is not the same thing as the Chicken Tikka Masala,; both the recipes look similar and uses marinated grilled chicken in the sauce, but the base sauce for the two recipes are quite different. While the Chicken Tikka Masala is told to have been created from the Cambell Tomato Soup, the sauce for Butter Chicken is made with pureed juicy tomatoes, and spices cooked in butter, and  is finished off with fresh cream. The primary aroma of the dish unfolds with the addition of the kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves. The trick is to cook the chicken in a tandoor/traditional clay oven, where the temperature reaches way higher than any regular oven; the marinated chicken is cooked in few minutes, tender and succulent.

Butter Chicken Making

Butter Chicken is a rich regal dish, and that is what the talk is all about. This in its authentic form has given it the popularity it achieved. There are many who gasp at the amount of cream that goes in it. So there are a lot of versions that substitutes the cream with yogurt or the butter/ghee with oil. I have tried those kinds too, but they have failed to fulfill me. Substitutions make nice chicken curries, but not the Butter Chicken. So when I make Murgh Makhani, and which does not happen everyday, I do indulge and make the rich original kind.

If you do need to substitute the cream, use half and half or evaporated milk or even milk. The taste of the final dish stays closer to the original.

Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani



Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)


Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

  1. 2 lbs chicken , washed, patted dry and cut into small pieces – (feel free to use chicken with or without bones, chicken thighs or a combination of breast and thighs)
  2. 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. salt
  5. oil/butter/ghee to baste while grilling

For marinade:

  1. 3/4 cup plain yogurt, strained/hung or use 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  2. 1.5 teaspoons kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves
  3. 1/2 – 1 teaspoon turmeric
  4. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  5. 1.5 tablespoon mustard oil, or any other cooking oil to substitute
  6. 1.5 tablespoon ginger paste
  7. 1/2 tablespoon garlic paste

**Note on the grilled chicken: you may use the recipe above or if you already have the Murgh/Chicken Tikka  (recipe posted) ready, you can use the same chicken in the sauce.



Note: You can make the sauce right when you are making this dish  (use recipe below) or use 2 cups of the Makhani Masala (without the cream added to it) if you have it already frozen and stored.

Whatever you use, pre made/frozen or make it now, use 2 cups of the Sauce/Makhani Masala. If you are making now as per the recipe below and have extra, freeze it for later use.

For the sauce/Makhani Masala:

  1. 2.5 inch fresh ginger, made into a paste
  2. 8-10 cloves of garlic, made into a paste
  3. 2-4 fresh green chili pepper, slit
  4. 4 tablespoon melted butter
  5. 4 green cardamoms
  6. 1.5 – 2 inch cinnamon sticks
  7. 2 cloves
  8. 1 black cardamom
  9. 1 teaspoon methi/fenugreek seeds
  10. 3-3.5 cups tomato puree (fresh tomatoes) or canned tomatoes (reduce the amount a little bit here as the water content will be less as compared to the fresh)
  11. 1 tablespoon red chili powder/cayenne pepper/paprika or to taste
  12. 10 almonds, soaked, peeled and made into a paste
  13. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  14. 1tablespoon kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves, very lightly toasted on a dry skillet and crushed
  15. 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  16. 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon heavy cream



Preparation:

Apply red chili powder, lemon juice and salt to the chicken and set aside for 20 minutes. This is the first marination.

Combine all ingredients of the second marinade (see list). Apply this marinade to the chicken and refrigerate for three to four hours; overnight works better.

Put the chicken on  skewers and cook on a grill or a preheated oven  at 400°F,  for about 10 minutes while turning them over mid way. Cook until done. Do not overcook, as the chicken will dry out and get fibrous. Baste it with butter/ghee/oil a couple of times while cooking.

(The chicken may be grilled on a skillet/cast iron pan/grill pan on the stove top  too. Heat the skillet/stove top grill pan and coat it with oil. Place the skewers and cook while turning them around and basting with oil and marinade until done, for about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.)

[ If you are using the pre made makhani masala, it should be about 2 cups in quantity]

Heat butter/ghee or oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add green cardamoms, black cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Sauté for a couple of minutes  or till they start to sizzle and get fragrant; add the methi/fenugrek seeds. When the methi seeds sizzle, add ginger paste and garlic paste, and the slit green chillies. Cook for five  to eight minutes; the water from the paste would have evaporated and the ginger garlic paste would have reduced in quantity.

Add tomato puree, red chili powder, and salt.Cook at medium heat for about 15 – 20 minutes. The puree will reduce to a thick paste and the oil/ghee will separate from the sides of the pan.

After the tomatoes are cooked down, you might want to blend the sauce into a smooth puree, if you want a restaurant like smooth texture for the sauce – especially if you are using fresh tomatoes. keturn it back to the pan after blending and continue with the rest of the process.

Add 2.5 cups of hot water to the pan (or if you want it less soupy and want the sauce to kind of coat the chicken pieces and have a little bit extra, add less water or simmer for longer time to achieve the pref. consistency as per your taste), add the almond paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes; add sugar and crushed kasuri methi.

Add cooked grilled chicken pieces. Stir well to combine – the chicken will be well coated with the sauce. Cover and simmer for eight to ten minutes; Lower the heat and add garam masala and the heavy cream. Stir in the cream and simmer at low heat for about five more minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and add a splash of cream before serving.

Butter Chicken/murgh makhani

Serve hot with Pulao.

Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani

or with Naan or Parathas.

Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani





Related Posts:

Malai Kofta: Cheese Dumpling Simmered in a Creamy Sauce

Dal Makhani

Chicken Korma: Chicken cooked in a creamy nut sauce

Achari Murgh: Chicken with Pickling Spices

Methi Murgh: Chicken Curry with Fenugreek Leaves



Around the Food World:

Manisha’s Butter Chicken



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130 comments to Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

  • This is wonderful (and making me crave butter chicken now!). Your photos are gorgeous. I have a few different recipes given to me by Indian friends and I love how each one is just a little different – sort of like how everyone has their version of homemade spaghetti sauce.

  • I will need to bookmark this, I’ve made butter chicken a few times but it never looked this delicious!

  • What a fabulous dish! refined, tasty and so soul-uplifting. Your murgh makhani looks so beautiful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Deepa

    Mouthwatering, Delicious, Lavish, Awesome Butter Chicken… I have run out of words to drool over it.

    Deepa

  • Yummy n creamy like the restaurant ones

  • I’ll be posting a butter chicken recipe in the next day or two. Yours looks fab….very similar but I don’t use almonds in mine!

  • I know this is considered popular, westernn Indian food but when made well, it’s a delightful meal and a winner for good reason! Great pics, Soma!

  • loved the recipe and photo
    It is simply fabulous . almond paste gives a more richer taste

  • loved the recipe and photo
    It is simply fabulous . almond paste gives a more richer taste
    it looks better than the resto version

  • This recipe looks fantastic! I may end up making it by the end of the weekend- thanks for sharing!

  • Soma, if you lived near , would have invited myself over. I adore this dish, too scared to make it myself, but won’t mind indulging with you ;-)

  • Looks very good Soma. I love Butter Chicken with ruti or naan. Fab photos, but thats your signature.

  • Lovely mouth watering recipe. beautiful pictures… !

  • YUM! I’ve had this at Indian restaurants and would love to try cooking this! One of my favs.

  • Butter chicken is truly a luxurious dish, but I never think to make it at home. I’m missing a couple of ingredients, but will make a trip to our local Indian market to pick them up. I can’t wait to try this!

  • wow, what gorgeous butter chicken!!!

  • Cham

    I prefer with naan, they are truly delicious ur pictures!

  • this makes me so hungry, and I don’t even like butter chicken generally

  • it looks so creamy, really mouthwatering…

  • Hey Soma.. good to see your clicks.. always makes me happy to see how good they come out! :) Butter chicken is not my favorite. But your pictures still look fab! :D

  • first time in your blog and want to say that you have FABULOUS display, just loving it.

  • Girl friend you know that you are my hero but after this post even more!! Butter chicken is my li’l brother’s hands down the favorite dish and he can eat it EVERYDAY! So no wonder this dish always reminds me of him and still I’ve barely made it myself just a couple times.
    Now that is one recipe I HAVE to make ‘cos it looks very much like what he would love to eat.
    Thanks so much Soma!

  • Divine looking curry Soma! Love the styling too! :)

  • Soma, I Love this rich, creamy, buttery goodness dish! :) Your pics are absolutely mouthwatering! :)

  • oh my, I am speechless here..looks fabulous..this totally makes me hungry now..feel like having some of this butter, creamy chicken NOW!!

  • As coincidence has it I just saw butter chicken on someone elses blog too! It looks so entirely delicious that I just have to make this really really soon!

  • Yum! I’ve never had homemade butter chicken, but your recipe and photographs make me want to try making this for myself.

  • mohana

    what a delight !!!

  • I remember eating the best butter chicken at a hotel in India. Since then I’ve stopped eating meat but seriously, your photos are almost making me rethink being a vegetarian because this looks delicious!!

    Ameena Try this with Paneer (Paneer Makhani). Exact same sauce, but with paneer in it. made in the same way!

  • anh

    this is my favourite Indian dish, no doubt! I have read and saved a lot of recipes, but yeah, the lengthy cooking process can be really daunting :D . Now I just ned some motivation!

    Anh, I have posted the Makhani Masala before which is used here ( have the link in this post). The Makhani Masala can be made in bulk and frozen for months (with out cream). I usually do that, and it is just a matter of marinating the chicken and grilling them. This actually gets done faster than any chicken curry as it has no onions to fry. Do give it try, if you like it!

  • anh

    ^ Yes Soma. I would love to! I haven’t been very good with meal planning lately. Just need to give myself some time to “settle” and this will be made :)

  • Wow! I love the look of this chicken, with all the spices needed to prepare this, I can imagine how delicious this is!

  • This looks AMAZING! I am so glad I stumbled upon this recipe, definitely going to be making it sometime in the near future. Quick question: where do you get all of those wonderful spices? I’m not sure my local market has fenugreek or black cardamom.

    Thank you Elizabeth!
    The fenugreek and the black cardamom are not the usual spices used in every kitchen. They are available in Indian Grocery stores. I am hoping that you have easy access to one. The fenugreek seeds are called Methi Seeds, and the black cardamom is Badi Elaichi. The dried fenugreek leaves = kasuri/kasoori methi. The spices usually have both names written on the bags/packets.

    regards
    Soma

  • Chicken Makhani is my FAVORITE. I didn’t realize there were so many ingredients! Hopefully someday I can collect all the ingredients and try to make this. It looks great.

  • This chicken looks so delicious! Photo is wonderful. I never try it before but i think that i really need it:) Thanks, Soma

  • Looks spectacular, Soma! I don’t eat chicken but love this sauce with paneer!

  • Lovely pics – I love the fact that you used the handis – reminds me of home!

  • This looks beyond amazing :) I can’t wait to try it!!

  • [...] to try for ages. I usually serve curries with popadoms, but when I saw the fabulous recipe for Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) I decided that naan would be the perfect accompaniment. I was a little [...]

  • I made this last night and it was delicious, so pleased.

  • I made this 2 weeks ago it was beyong amazing :) making it again for dinner tonight!! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Hello! I’ve just discovered your blog while searching for a butter chicken recipe and it is fabulous! :) I made this recipe exactly as written yesterday but was a little bit disappointed. My issue was the addition of the 2.5 cups of water – is that a typo? Because 2.5 cups was definitely too much, the sauce way too liquid, almost like soup. I ended up with a huge potful of sauce. It was not creamy and I could barely taste the butter. The restaurant butter chicken I’ve had is usually a lot thicker. Suggestions? Should I just let it boil longer or can I skip or decrease the water? I definitely want to make this again because the spicing/flavor was perfect but the consistency needed work.

    I am sorry:( If you see the photographs, you would have realized that this does have a little bit more sauce than the restaurant version. If you want it thicker, do reduce the water amount OR increase heat and simmer it longer (that will allow the spices to cook better too). If you want you can def. increase the amount of cream and butter too. I will update the post with this info:) Thank you.

  • Thank you for the prompt response! I’ll make it with less water next time. As I said the taste is pretty delicious so I just ate some of the extra sauce as soup yesterday :D

    I am surprised that it got so watery that you had it as a soup!! When you add the water, the stuff in the pan should actually reduce quite a lot and the water simmers down – uncovered further for 15 minutes. i am so sorry for the mess:( we like to have some extra sauce to soak up the naan with it), but it never became like a soup .

  • [...] I thought that it’s cooked with butter and that’s why the name. Until I saw the amazing recipe in Soma’s blog [...]

  • Hi Soma,

    We want to say a big thank you for your support for the Cook & Share a Pot of Curry event. Your recipes are really inspiring, especially for all that are new to curries. Look forward to your next dish!

  • Kaushiki

    Soma – yummy recipe…my son was asking for a chicken dish that was like restaurant…Thank god this made him happy…:)

  • Trish

    Hi Soma, I’ve made your recipe and it turned out great; your butter chicken is as good as in the best Indian restaurant! I just have one question: what to do with the whole spices? When the sauce is done, these spices (like the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon etc.) are still there. Do you put the sauce through a sieve to get rid of them, or do you use a blender to make it nice and smooth? I can’t find this in the recipe. Thanks so much!

    Thank you much!

    Regarding the spices, we usually fish it out if it happens to land on our plate ;D you can either remove them once the cooking is done, or once the sauce is done and before adding the chicken pieces, you may blend them all in for them to disappear and also have a smoother sauce.. then add the chicken and simmer everything until done.

  • Jon

    Looks great, thanks for posting: Quick question – directions say to saute cinnamon, but there is no cinnamon in the list… how much, and whole or powdered? Thanks!

    Sorry about that! I have updated the post. Use 1.5 inch to 2 inch cinnamon sticks.

    Regards
    Soma

  • Nitin

    Hi Soma,

    Wonderful recipe and fabulous pictures. Nowadays anything we feel like making in the house…we check your blog first :)

    One comment about the recipe – I followed the ingredient list and directions to a tee but the gravy was a little sour (presumably because of the tomatoes?). I was able to fix it by adding a little extra milk/half-half but perhaps maybe the tomatoes need to be cooked longer?

    Thanks much!

    The sour could be because of the tomatoes.. yes.. it all depends on the kind of tomato. Did you use fresh? or the canned ones. I doubt if the tomatoes were sour cooking them longer would fix it. If it was not cooked long enough, you would feel/taste the uncooked masala. Try using a drizzle of sugar (not much.. just enough to balance out the sour), and the cream/milk. It is safer to use canned tomatoes as fresh ones are pretty unpredictable… if it is still sour for you try reducing the quantity of the tomatoes a bit the next time. Hope I could help.

    Regards
    Soma

  • Hey

    I wondered, is there any substitutes for almonds/cashew nuts if its made for people allergic to nuts? I read about people using poppy seeds. Any experience with this?

    use poppy seeds or just do not use any nuts at all.. it will still be good:)

  • Bianca

    Dear Soma,
    I am German but moved to England several years ago. My partner is English and our daugter, well she i half and half I guess :) As I am sure you are wawre tandori houses are very popular and often visited in this part of the world and as I just like good, aromatic food I quickly became a fan of the Indian and Pakistani offerings :)
    Being a bit scared of the wide array of spices called for in many if the recipes I hesitated to start making my own, but when i came across your blog I decided I had to give it a go and the Murgh Makhani was to be my guinea pig… Oh and what a revelation it has proven to be!!! I cannot thank you enough for your great recipes and the inspiration you provide, we all absolutely love it and even my two year old daughter gets stuck in and says “nice, nice, nice” as she munches along ( I should add that I hold back on the chillies a bit ).
    The process of preparing the different components and the smells filling the house is a true joy for me and how great is the reward of sittig down at the end of it and have it all dancing around your mouth, I can’t thank you enough.
    Yesterday I made the dish again and we had invited my mother in law over, who smilingly polished off the portion we had put in front of her complimenting me all along ;) As we are all lovers of potatoes I actually serve it with some fried 5 spice potatoe wedges and Nan.

    Thank you for the really lovely “make me feel good” comment:) The first thing I read when I opened my blog and it really did make my day. Beautiful readers like you encourages me to keep blogging even during the down times!! Thanks again. xo

  • [...] should be no misunderstanding here. There is nothing really wrong with the glistening orange hued Butter Chicken or hot buttered Naan soaking up the rich sauce of the Paneer Makhani. They all represent Indian [...]

  • Charmaine

    Thank you for this amazing recepie. I made it a couple days ago and we are still eating left overs. Sooo good. I did not have any fenugreek leaves, black cardamon green chillies or lemon. Substituted Lime for lemon which made the dish a bit sour so I added honey and it did the trick. The other stuff that i left out didnt ruin the dish so i was really happy. Butter chicken is my favorite but so expensive at the indian restaurant so I am really happy i can make three times the amount for the same price. Thank you again for your blog. My family cooks alot more south indian dishes so i dont have anyone to really teach me the more north indian stuff.
    I was wondering if you ever tried almold milk as a substitute for almond paste in this dish.

  • Kemi

    I just finished cooking your Murgh Makhani recipe. It is fabulous. The instructions were very clear and I was able to pull it off for dinner tonight. It looks just like the photos! I’ll be looking at some more of your recipes in the future for authentic Indian cuisine. Thanks!

  • Dave

    Made this tonight for the first time along with the Naan. Amazing results, recipe was crystal clear, and the taste……. wow…. so good!! Thank you so much for this recipe! :)

  • [...] spices and as an addition to the sauce, it changes the character and flavor of the resultant curry.http://www.ecurry.com/blog/india…Comment Loading… • Post • Just now  Add [...]

  • Divya

    Does the butter chicken recipe not have any onions?

    Thank you
    Divya

    No no onions. The Makhani Masala requires no onions.

  • i will try it and let u know looks like amazing.thanks a lot for posting this dish.

  • Mike

    I have made this 3 times in the last 5 weeks and am currently making it again now. I have been seeking ‘the’ special recipe that would satisfy my English ex-pat wife’s craving for a good curry (and my craving developed from living in England for several years). I have 5 Indian cookbooks and have tried several recipes from the internet, but I’d never found the right recipe… until I found this one.

    This is unbelievably amazing – to the many posters who have commented on how good the pictures look, you must make it and see how amazing it tastes.

    Thank you so much. And I cannot wait to try your recipe for Dal Makhani – another dish that I learned to love/crave at a great restaurant in Singapore and have been trying to re-create ever since. If only I could stop myself from making your Butter Chicken all the time…

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I cannot even tell you how happy your comment makes me feel:)

    Regards
    – soma

  • Kate

    Hi,
    I am planning on making this curry tomorrow night, but have a question about the tomato puree that you say to use. I live in the UK and over here tomato puree is double concentrated and comes in tubes or mini tins. It is usually quite bitter so I was surprised at the quantity which you give. But then I realised that our tomato puree may be what you call tomato paste? So am I to use this or sieved tomatoes (passata) that you can buy in tins or cartons and is just pulsed tomatoes?
    Thanks

  • soma

    If you are talking about something thick and concentrated, I think it is what we call a tomato paste here. No not that one!! The pulsed tomato kind is what I mean. Freshly pulsed tomatoes done at home are good to use too. I mentioned the “puree” as the canned ones here cook faster than the fresh tomatoes with so much water content. If you want to pulse fresh ones are home, that will also work. Just remove the skin for better texture ( make a cross at the end, drop them in hot water and cover for a few minutes, remove and peel off the skin) and then pulse them. If you are using fresh tomatoes, you want to use a bit more, as the water in it adds to the volume and it will definitely take longer to cook off the water and get rid of the raw taste. So keep that in mind.

    ‘am here if you need help!

  • Kate

    Thanks so much. Pictures look amazing, can’t wait to try it tomorrow!

  • Azmina

    I am planning on making this tomorrow for guests. Can I just use Hunt’s tomato sauce???

    Use the tomato paste instead of the sauce. If the sauce has any other ingredient/flavoring (like onion/garlic or any herbs), the flavors of the makhani sauce will change…

  • Blog media

    I advise to use a hand blender at the end then fine strain through a sieve removing any pulp, this takes time and one should use a good sieve pressing the mixture through it. The resulting texture will be very smooth.

  • This recipe was delicious! I had to make it without the green cardamom and the fenugreek seeds, but even still, it was very flavorful. I will definitely be making this again!


    Thank you so much!

  • Nani

    This stuff, is full proof. Make, eat, repeat. Big thank you to the chef. Take a bow :)

  • soma

    Thank you so much :) xo

  • Menaka

    Hi there,

    I couldn’t find tomato puree at my local grocery store so I was wondering if I could used canned crushed tomatoes. WWould that alter the outcome of this dish? Thank you.

    Yes you can!

  • Kevan

    Really excellent, took some ‘organising’ in terms of ingredients, but turned out delicious, maybe a little hot for some peoples tastes so would just need to cut down on the ginger and chilli to calm it down, if you prefer more of a ‘korma’ heat than a ‘madras’.

    Thanks much! Yes the spice level may be adjusted to taste:)

  • Sharon

    I tried the chicken recipe and it was delicious. I was wondering if instead of chicken can I use boiled eggs ??????????

    Yes you could anything you want! I make vegetarian versions of this with Paneer (http://www.ecurry.com/blog/indian/curries/gravies/paneer-makhani-butter-paneer/) and with Lentils (http://www.ecurry.com/blog/soups-and-salads/soup/dal-makhanilentils-simmered-in-creamy-tomato-sauce/) or with Cauliflower (http://www.ecurry.com/blog/indian/curries/gravies/makhani-gobi-cauliflower-in-creamy-tomato-sauce/). You could try these too if you wanted.

  • Ben

    Tried this recipe last night and i was blown away!!!! Absolutely fantastic, some of the best curry to ever come from my kitchen. Bravo to you!


    Thank you so much for giving it a try!

  • [...] at home…can't open it here at work I did find a recipe and it sounds complicated, but so yummy ! Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) | eCurry – The Recipe Blog __________________ MERRY CHRISTMAS!!Michelle, Jada and [...]

  • [...] followed the recipe (taken from http://www.ecurry.com) almost exactly, but I did have to modify some of the seasonings due to the limitations of my spice [...]

  • rani

    I tried yesterday this recipe.It was delicious.thank you ,thank you so much.

    Thank you for trying! Glad that you liked it. :)

  • Stacey

    Mmmmmm!!! Just made the sauce only portion of this and it turned out delicious!! I didn’t have fenugreek leaves or green chilis but it still turned out wonderful. I didn’t make a super fine paste of the garlic and ginger and used diced tomatoes instead of puree so I just ended up putting the completed sauce (whole spices removed) in the food processor to get a nice creamy consistency. It looks beautiful and I can’t wait to add the cream when we make the full dish later this week. Thank you, thank you!! My husband’s favorite dish at the local Indian restaurant. House smells wonderful too!!

    Super happy that you like it!! Thank you so much for trying:D

  • [...] pas forcément facile à trouver en dehors de Paris, et en fouillant un peu je suis tombé sur une recette qui m’avait l’air très bien, je l’ai modifié un tout petit [...]

  • I just wrote a post about exploring Indian cuisine, starting with the much-loved, and usually well-received, Butter Chicken. In the process, I discovered your blog. I am excited about reading your future posts. Thanks!

  • very nice dish and the images are awesome

  • nice dish and images are too good

  • [...] tried butter chicken recipes from countless sources, but the one that stood out the most so far is this one from ecurry blog. I have tweaked it to suit my taste, of course. The secret seems to be in the [...]

  • [...] Although there are many wonderful recipes for this dish out there, I believe I found an excellent Indian Butter Chicken recipe from ecurry, and let me tell you, this recipe is definitely worth a try to make it at least [...]

  • Michaela

    I am from Germany and I was looking for the butter chicken recipe. I found your Website via Google. I tried this recipe yesterday. It was georgeous!

    I would like to cook this dish for my birthday party. I need four times the amount. Do I have to take the spices, cloves of garlic and the garlic & ginger paste x4 or would that be too much?

    Looking forward to your answer and your recommendation!

    Thank you!!!

    Use 3 times the spices, 3 times the marinade (4 times won’t hurt), and 3-3.5 times the Makhani Masala/Sauce amount. If the sauce is extra, you can freeze the sauce for later use (without adding the cream). Hope this helps!

  • DivaT

    Wonderful recipe – instead of cream try plain soymilk. It is a wonderful replacement for cream in many dishes.

    Thank you much for the suggestion! I have never used soymilk, but have used Almond milk and it terms of flavor it really works well as substitute in Indian recipes!

  • [...] My recipe for butter chicken comes from the blog eCurry [...]

  • asy

    cream, where it get

    any store that sells dairy should have cream/heavy cream/whipping cream/double cream. any of these will work.

  • Kelly

    Hello! I am planning on making this recipe and wonder if I can substitute ground penugreek for penugreek seeds, and if so, is it just 1 tsp for 1 tsp? Thanks! :)

  • Kelly

    Oops I meant fenugreek!!!

    Do you mean that you want to subsitute the leaves (dried leaves= kasuri methi) with the seeds?? Not sure I understand the ground fenugreek. if you do not have the dried methi leaves, just skip it and use the seeds in the initial process. The seeds have flavor, but they are also bitter, so if you use too much of it, the sauce will have an undesirable after taste. I hope I answered you question. Let me know know if you have any more questions.

  • Annesha

    Hi Soma,
    If I were using premade garlic and ginger paste for the sauce, how much would that be in tablespoons/ teaspoons?
    Thanks :)


    Same amount.

  • Thomas L.

    I did it! I mean, you did it! I finally made a butter chicken just like at a restaurant. The key for me was using home made tomato purée, and finally, I had it. Thank you so much for sharing this authentic recipe, I have tried at least four recipes, and this is the only one that comes close. I’m excited to try and make it again for my whole family!!! Thank you again!!!

    Thank you! Thank you for trying it out, and thank you for letting me know. So glad that that it lived up to your expectations!

  • [...] my cuisine turned out not to be the first time I made it. I followed my recipe, which came from eCurry, step by step however some parts weren’t clear in the directions. For example, the blogger [...]

  • Eileen

    Beautiful site. Can’t wait to try your recipe for Murgh Makhani. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Sanju

    Looks wonderful. Quick question – when you refer to tomato puree, it is fresh or canned? Would the quantity be the same for either?

    The measurement is for fresh puree. If you use concentrated tomato paste, use half the amount and then combine with water. The canned puree will be almost same as the fresh or may be a tiny bit less.

  • [...] an Indian restaurant. But my wife and I only go there for special occasions. We have a dish called Chicken Makhani or Butter Chicken. It is usually served over rice. What is your favorite food? Is it the same as any of [...]

  • Tamar

    So excited! My absolute favorite! Im going to try this one next week (or maybe even this weekend!)

    I do have the same question as Sanju! And also, if i would be using canned tomatoes, how many cans of 400 grams should i use?

    Thanks so muuuuch!!!

    The measurement is for fresh puree. If you use concentrated tomato paste, use half the amount and then combine with water. The canned puree will be almost same as the fresh or may be a tiny bit less. Not sure about how many of 400 gms!! Sorry :( Empty them out and measure them in an 8 oz by volume cups size and use as the recipe says.

  • Caroline

    What an amazing recipe. Tasted just as good as the best restaurant Butter Chicken. I chose to marinade the chicken overnight for extra absorption of the spices. I made a few changes to the ingredients. Instead of fresh ginger I used Very Lazy Ginger, rinsed in water and pulped in the pestle and mortar. I could not find any dried fenugreek leaves or seeds so used the powder instead, also just used normal cardamom seeds. And the tomatoes used were 2 x Italian chopped in cans, 1 can used whole the other drained of juices then whizzed with the hand blender to smooth. And I used ground almonds mixed with a bit of warm water to make a paste. Took about 3 hours from grilling the chicken to the final dish ( I relished the prep involved whilst watching a dvd and drinking a glass or two of wine), served with some shop bought sides and naan bread as we didn’t need any rice.
    The house now smells like an Indian restaurant but I don’t care. I will be making this for a large family get together in a few months. Thank you very much for sharing this recipe.

    Thank you so much for trying it!!!

  • John

    I love this recipe! It reminds me so much of the butter chicken we had during two years in the Middle East! I’m hoping you can clear up some confusion for me. In the “first marinade” you call for the chili powder and lemon juice, and in the second marinade directions, you call for them again. Do I double the amounts listed, or do I halve the amount prescribed in each marinade? Or are the only meant for the 20 minute initial marinade?

    Also, in the ingredients for the marinade you call for turmeric and fenugreek leaves, but in the directions, they are not told to add to the yogurt/mustard/masala mixture. Should I go ahead and add them to the marinade?

    Thank you SO much for putting this hard work online! It’s outstanding!!!

    I have updated the post. Thanks for pointing that out! Just follow the recipe (ingredients and time as it says now). Hope you like it! and hope I have answered your questions.

  • Nidhi

    OMG ! This recipe is just simply amazing, I’ve been trying it for a while and everyone who tastes it, loves it. The last time I was at one of the renowned Mughlai restaurant in the city (Mumbai), I ordered for butter chicken by default and I actually regretted it because this tastes so much better ! Thankyou so much for this.

    Thanks a lot!!

  • This was amazing! It took a while to make, but so worth it. I served it with fresh naan. My whole family loved it.

    Thank you :)

  • Priyanka

    Except for the cilantro garnishing, I did everything by the book and boy it just turned out amazing! I am so glad to find this recipe. Thank you so much for this gem and making me add this to my recipe book.

    Thank you :)

  • Ler

    Some places make it sweet. This is not good. It should have oil on the top and be incredibly delicious.

    This dish is not supposed to be sweet. The only sweet edge would be if the fresh tomatoes are used and they are too tart. Then a little sugar or honey is used to offset that and balance out the dish. The sweet Butter Chicken has kind of become typical of the restaurants outside India and is not authentic at all. It is done to cater to make it less spicy and more approachable for non Indians. If you get a chance do try this recipe. This is one of the most tried recipes in this blog and everyone was happy with the results.

  • Hey there, as a chef I often look for authentic recipes, especially being a fan of western indian culinary dishes.. This is definitely one of the best butter chicken recipes I have seen, thank you for giving it up!!!!

    Kepler Weber
    Head Chef
    Mahogany Inn restaurant

  • Carmen

    I’m so excited to try this recipe, and I have ordered online most of the spices. I have only green cardamom powder though and not black, how much would I use? I also only have ground cloves, so can you help me out with an amount there too? Thanks so much!

    About 1/4 teaspoon to little less than 1/2 teaspoon of the cardamom approx. The clove a little less – so a tiny pinch. I hope you like it!!

  • Sean

    I literally spent hours trying to find a recipe that could come close to a dish I had recently. This is spot on and WOW!! Thank you. I will now start trying your other dishes too!

    Thanks so much for trying and I am so happy that you liked it! :)

  • Carmen

    I’ve now tried this and it was sooooo amazing! Making a quadruple batch tonight of the sauce (without the cream) for the freezer so it is simpler the next time I NEED to eat it. I couldn’t find fresh green chilies, but I used 3 T of canned and it was still amazing and a good level of spice in my opinion. I blended it once it was cooked so it was nice and smooth and it was perfect. The small city I live in tried to ruin this recipe, but I prevailed. Thanks for the recipe!

    Very happy to know that you made it!!!

  • latha

    Fantastic recipe, restaurant lik looks and taste

  • saadia

    looks very yummy really yr pictures of makhni murgh makes my mouth full of water… i will try it definetly

  • [...] paired this with an indian dish I love: Murgh Makhani. That is not my recipe and I haven’t tested it; mine came from my friend’s mother from [...]

  • Steven from Australia

    I was going to make this tonight but I couldn’t undertand what happens to the spices? What do you do with the whole cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds and fenugreek? Do you grind them and if you do how do you get a very smooth sauce?

    You really do not need to grind them. You may just leave it there if it does not bother you. Or fish them out. Or if you would want a really smooth uninterrupted sauce, blend the sauce (tomato, spice etc) once it is done cooking and fat leaves the sides in the pan… blend it smooth at this point and return to pan. Then continue with the rest of the procedure.

  • Michelle

    I have made this dish a few times, following the recipe pretty much exact – it is hands down the BEST butter chicken recipe out there!!

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. A big heartfelt one :)

  • Thank you for sharing this recipe and beautiful photos. I am about to make your recipe and my mouth is watering. Thank you for also sharing the history of the dish and where it originated. I am so happy I found your blog and I’ll be following for more of your recipes. Tala, The Hungry Nomad

  • Christopher

    I am happy to see that this version contains no onions, cumin, or coriander seed. While I like those ingredients, they are used in a great number of Indian dishes, and I find that what really makes Murgh Makhani special is what is left out, allowing subtle but rich flavors to shine through. For me, the characteristic tastes in murgh makhani are obviously the kasoori methi (fenugreek), but also mace. It was surprising to me that this had no mace, but did have cloves… I find cloves a bit strong for this dish. Am I wrong on this? I’m just a white guy… but stay with an Indian family sometimes, eat tons of Indian food and am getting better at cooking it all the time. But other than my preference for mace over cloves here, I think this is a great recipe and so nice to find a website full of authentic recipes. I’m all for regional variations, but many recipes online corrupt the recipes to the point that they are really inferior.

    I also find that not much water is needed, if the tomato puree is thin. If it’s more thick or pasty, it will need to be diluted with water. Also, many people don’t have access to a strong gas flame… and cook in small pans which don’t have surface area to reduce, so that could lead to problems with too thin a consistency. And the sourness… well canned tomatoes in the USA are quite sour and definitely need some honey (or sugar) as you have said. Imported Italian canned tomatoes are better… and pureeing your own fresh tomatoes is best (in my experience anyway).

    When I make this I cook the tomatoes with cardamom, mace, etc. and BLEND/PUREE it for nice texture. I then re-cook it with the ginger-garlic pastes and green chilis. But it is significantly more time and work. This version is much easier and less time.

    Thank you so much for taking your time to write the comment. Sorry I could not reply earlier. I agree 100% with all that you have said. :) You are not just any “white guy”, but someone with genuine knowledge and inclination for Indian food :) You are actually among the very few of the population who would know that no cumin, coriander or onion is used in a butter chicken :)

    Your are right that Makhani Masala does not have cloves. If you click on the original makhani masala I have linked to, you will see that I have not used clove in that. But I myself (and family) find the smell of meat a bit strong sometimes, so I have started using cloves. But if you see the amount I have used, you will not really decipher it in the sauce. I have never used mace, but yes that would be more appropriate.

    Yes the water amount/reduction time would need to be adjusted with the kind of tomatoes used. Some others who have tried have mentioned that it was watery, but I guess one has to watch and do that as they want it. And yes sugar or honey needs to be added to nullify the tart. Each kind/brand of tomatoes are different. So that needs to be adjusted per taste too.

    You would not need to follow this recipe! Follow yours ;) I am sure you are doing the right thing and even better. Blending the tomatoes with the spices is better as they grind the spices and the tomatoes… some who are not used to whole spices popping in their plate or mouth benefit better from this.

    And about my blog – I try my best to experiment and try out original recipes. Cuisine in India is so vast that I would have probably only tried five percent of it. But when I try something, I try it many times and match up closest to how it should be and then make changes I need to. The goal is to have the original out. That is why I always mention in details if I have made changes and what difference it can make. I think it would help me if I was going to try something the very first time and I hope I can help others with that.

    Thanks again!!

    Regards

  • [...] outside of cookery courses. Here’s a recipe that I have found a recipe on-line that I like: http://www.ecurry.com/blog/indian/curries/gravies/murgh-makhani-butter-chicken/ I would follow the recipe described in this blog substituting the first marinade with the brine, [...]

  • Mahen

    Made this dish, for my work colleagues and it turned out brilliant. I am a fan of spicy food, so I added a bit too much chili powder. The only negative thing about this recipe, is the long time it takes and the many processes but it was very good. I will definitely use this recipe again!

    Thank you so much! Yes it does take time, but you can make the Makhani Masala beforehand (without the cream/dairy) and freeze it. It takes very little time if the masala is already made.

  • Karl

    Any good dish has processes that take some time… No complaints, just praise! It was a fun cooking experience (indian cuisine is somewhat new to me), with fantastic results. Authentic and delicious! I liked it so much, I immediately made it again the next day ;) I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

    Thanks so much for your recipes, and great photos as well..

  • Melissa

    Hi! I am trying your recipe and im stumped. The sauce says to use 2.5 inches ginger made in a paste. So I actually made a whole batch of paste and now I dont know how much paste equals 2.5 inches! I am going to wing it but id really like to know for next time. Same with the garlic. How much garlic paste equals 8-10 cloves of garlic?

    Sorry about the confusion. Here is what it means:
    2.5 inch fresh ginger, made into a paste – (the size of the fresh ginger you use is 2.5 inch knob. Pick that size of ginger and grind it to a paste)
    8-10 cloves of garlic, made into a paste (8-10 cloves of garlic made /ground into a paste. so you remove that many cloves from the garlic pod and make paste with those)

    It does not mean that the paste should amount to 2.5 inches in depth.

    Hope this helps!!

  • Justine Roth

    Do you have the nutritional information for this dish? I have recently started the Dash diet and I am trying to see if I can eat this! It looks so yummy!

    I have to confess here and say that I do not have a clue! Is there a place where you can stick in ingredient list and have them calculate?? Sorry!

  • Megan

    Hi, thanks so much for posting this! I just made it and I am a little stumped. It turned out pretty acidic and tomato-y, moreso than what I have encountered in this dish when I have it at local Indian restaurants here in America. Is the American restaurant version different, or did I maybe make a mistake somewhere? I used fresh tomatoes but maybe they weren’t ripe enough or something, I am not a good cook so I am not a good judge of that, haha. I have to say that even if it wasn’t what I was expected it is pretty good. :)

    The sauce should not be tart at all! They might be little tart but that can be balanced out with the sugar or honey that I mentioned. What you have tasted in restaurants is the right kind of taste without tart. Different restaurants out of Indian might do it differently, good or bad, but the sauce should never be tart. Its smooth and creamy with a well balanced flavor. I think the tomatoes you have used must have been tart. Or they were not cooked enough? It is probably the first reason.

    If you still have leftovers and you are willing to make up I would add more cream and some sweet to balance out the taste and make it edible. It might not be what you wanted but it would be edible at least. i am so sorry. If you are willing to give it a try again maybe use the canned pureed tomatoes to be on the safe side?

    Am here if you have any more questions.

  • Shabs

    Hey Soma!Hope u r doing well and good! I have this habit of trying Murgh Makhanis, and have tried many , really many of them. I wanted to try this recipe of yours for quite a long while and finally did it yesterday. Inspite of me being a fast cook,it took me quite a while to cook. I have used canned tomatoes, by grinding them. But rest all I followed pretty much the same and by eye balling the measurements to suit my family needs. Came out well. Initially, I thought the smell of methi seeds were over powering, but then it mellowed in towards the end. But I would reduce it to 1/2 tsp next time. On another note, the tartness others mention is because they have not cooked tomatoes enough I suppose. Because I used 2*400 g cans and still it wasn’t tart. The cooked tomato in the picture was of great help to understand how well it needs to be cooked. Thanks.

    Shabs thank you so much for trying and for the tips. :) xx

  • tina

    Just wanted to know if we can fry the chicken after marination or is it necessary to grill them?

    You mean deep fry them? I have never done that and besides the chicken in butter chicken is usually cooked in tandoor. It the outside toughens, it won’t absorb any flavor of the sauce. You do not have to have an outside grill to grill them. Coat a skillet with oil or oil spray and lightly cooked the chicken on the stove top in a skillet. Or you can broil them in the oven. If none of these work for you, you can fry them, but it will be difficult to expect the traditional taste.

  • [...] to make it quicker and easier to make. If you are interested in a very traditional butter chicken, here is one that will help you understand why I instantly googled “easy butter chicken” upon [...]

  • Veronica

    Hi there! I’m making your butter chicken tonight! I’ve been searching for this authentic recipe for a long time so I can’t wait to try it! I have a question though, when you say: After the tomatoes are cooked down, you might want to blend the sauce into a smooth puree… I’m assuming we have to take out the cinnamon sticks, cloves and leaves, right?!?!? And then you put them back?? Please confirm, I wanna make this perfect! :-) Thanks.

    If you are blending, you may blend everything in. I use a powerful blender (Blendtec) and it just makes a very smooth puree where I cannot even find any trace of the spices. So it is okay to blend the spices if it blends well. I hope this helps. And I hope the dish lives up to your expectation :)

  • [...] even for a crowd, an easy attitude towards making this dish.   Recently, I got obsessed with Soma’s butter chicken which literally drove me to make, after reading her post. When I made it first time [...]

  • Jennie

    Thank you for this recipe! My husband and I loved it, and he declared it as good as our favorite curry in our favorite restaurant!

    Thank you so much for trying!

  • Thanks Soma. This recipe of yours was yummylicious. Made butter chicken for my guests and they just loved it.

    Thank you so much!

  • Ambreen

    I was very pleasantly surprised by this recipe. I made a few changes and I think that just made this perfect. Instead of yoghurt for the marinade, I used heavy cream for the marinade. I have used a combination of heavy cream and yoghurt in the past but all heavy cream is just fantastic. Bye bye dry grilled chicken! I also straight up just used tandoori chicken masala for the marinade. I stuck everything on skewers and grilled away. I think it’s very important to get those smoky grill marks for true tandoori flavor of the chicken.
    Second, I highly recommend canned crushed tomatoes from the grocery store to get the right texture. There is no blending needed if you use canned tomatoes. Also, instead of water I suggest using just a cup of chicken stock. So much more flavor!
    Third, I used cashews instead of almonds. I know for a fact that true butter chicken needs cashew puree.
    Other than that I used everything in the exact proportion as it was said in the recipe and mind was blown!
    Thank you. If you show me how to make perfect butter chicken, rest assured i will be coming back to read your blog.

    Thank you! All the changes you made are really good changes. The cream in the marinade works wonders. I have the Malai Tikka recipe which uses cream. See here (http://www.ecurry.com/blog/starters-snacks/murg-malai-tikka-kabab/). The yogurt is a natural tenderizer, so the use in the marinade. Yes cashews are used in original Butter Chicken. Glad you liked it!

  • Ana

    Hello,

    Just to let you know we enjoyed your butter chicken as a part of a doctorate celebration feast yesterday! :) Thanks for the delicious recipe.

  • Corinne Rao

    I tried this recipe today. I have made this on my own before, but never had a recipe to follow. It is delicious, but the prep work involved is tremendous….it took hours…I don’t know that the end result was so fantastic that I would go thru it again…my kitchen looks like a disaster zone…I know you said the makhani masala can be made and frozen, but still…JEEZ..a LOT of work. Not sure it is worth it. I would just run out to the closest Indian restaurant and order take out…plus, as some other posters have mentioned, the end result was a tad sour. I used canned tomato puree, and had to add more than a tsp of sugar to balance the sourness…not a fan of this recipe…

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