Butter Chicken

I know there is going to me much discussion on this recipe as it may not be the usual go to recipe for many of you. I have been making my butter chicken this way for years and not once have I got a bad review. This is a pure and simple recipe. with a few ingredients and the best part is, it is so easy. You can make the recipe with both with or without bone meat. Actually if you get the gravy right it is great even with a few fillets of salmon poached in it for a lovely fish makhani. Or simple add paneer pieces to it for yummy Paneer makhani. You can add a smoky flavour to it by smoking some ghee over a cindering piece of charcoal in a steel katori by simply placing the katori into the pan and covering it while it smokes. But that is optional. All in all this is not your usual nutter chicken or makhani gravy recipe and yes, maybe you do have another version of the same. But trust me you want to give this one a try.


  1. Chicken ( about 1 kg with bone orĀ  700 gm boneless)
  2. 400ml Tomato puree (it’s preferred if the tomatoes are peeled then pureed)
  3. Ginger about an inch cube julienned and about an inch cube minced
  4. 5-6 cloves of garlic minced.
  5. Whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, green cardamom, bay leaf)
  6. 400 ml Cream
  7. 500 gm Yogurt
  8. 4 or 5 Green chiliesĀ slit
  9. 2 Teaspoons Garam masala
  10. 1-2 Teapoons sugar (depend on how sour your tomatoes are)
  11. Salt as per taste.
  12. 2 Spoons of ghee


For the chicken

  1. In a large bowl prepare the marination for the chicken. Add the yogurt, minced ginger and garlic, 1 spoon garam masala, salt as per taste, 2 slit green chillies and mix well to for a smooth paste.
  2. Cut slits into the flesh of the chicken making half deep cuts in the fleshier parts to ensure the flavour of the marination goes into the meat.
  3. Marinate the meat and set aside for about an hour.
  4. Once marinated empty the entire chicken and marinade into a hot pan to sear the surface of the meat and once all surfaces are seared turn the heat to low and let the chicken cook covered.
  5. Stir the chicken once in a while to ensure it doesn’t stick. By now the chicken and yogurt would have left a lot of water. Cover and let the chicken cook through till tender.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked through cook open on medium heat to reduce the water. Do not dry the water completely as it will add flavour to your gravy.
  7. Set aside covered.

For the gravy

  1. Heat a few spoons ghee in a pan and roast the whole spices, add half of the julienned ginger and fry till aromatics are released. add the split green chillies.
  2. Add the tomato puree with a spoon of sugar to the fried spices. (The sugar helps in retaining the colour of the tomato puree). Cook the puree till the mixture leaves a little ghee.
  3. Add the cream to this in two parts. Mix well after adding the first half and then add more mixing between additions to check the colour of the gravy. you should have a nice bright orange gravy. If it is too light it will taste too creamy. Add salt as per taste.
  4. Add one spoon of garam masala and the remaining julienned ginger and let the gravy simmer covered on low for about 5 minutes.
  5. To this sauce now add the cooked chicken and all its juices. Let this simmer covered for another 5 minutes.
  6. you will notice some of the ghee rising to the edges. You can now remove the pan off the heat.
  7. Serve hot with rice, naan or Laccha paranthas.
The perfect accompaniment to butter chicken has to be lovely salad of crisp onion rings just tossed in some salt and lemon juice and a generous sprinkle of finely cut green chillies.
This recipe helps you achieve a lovely tangy gravy with flavoursome juicy chicken pieces.

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