Butter Chicken, also known as Chicken Makhani is one of the popular lip-smacking Indian non-vegetarian dishes made with chicken, spices, tomatoes & cream. Loved by many across the world, it was invented by Kundan Lal Gujral, the owner of Moti Mahal Restaurant in Delhi. This creamy & authentic tasting butter chicken is the best when you can make at home. Serve with basmati rice, naan or roti is a delight which most Indians love during their restaurant visits.
To make an authentic butter chicken recipe, first, we need to marinate the chicken, grilled and then cooked in a rich gravy made with tomato, cashew nuts, butter, and a special spice blend as a base. Unlike most Indian curries, butter chicken uses tomato as a base instead of the base prepared with onions and a ginger garlic paste. Cashews and fresh cream add to the sweetness and richness of the dish.
This post will guide you with step-by-step instructions on how to make butter chicken at home with homemade masalas and fresh ingredients that tastes absolutely delicious, flavor-packed, creamy, and rich. The recipe shared here is an authentic one, except grilling in tandoor. Not every one of us has a tandoor or an oven. So for this post, I have done it in a pan.
Recipe Ingredients & Cooking Process
Note: You can change the Servings count below to get updated ingredient quantities.
- 500 g Chicken (skinless withbone-in, cut into medium-sized pieces)
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Ginger – Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Ginger (Chopped)
- 4 pods Garlic
- 1/4 cup Onions (thinly chopped)
- 1 1/2 cup Tomato (thinly chopped)
- 1-2 no. Green Chilli (Slit)
- 3 tbsp Thick Curd/Yogurt
- 2 no. Bay Leaf
- 2 no. Green Cardamom
- 3 no. Cloves
- 1 inch Cinnamon
- 1 no. Black Cardamom
- 1-2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1/4 tsp Kasoori Methi Powder
- 10 no. Cashews
- 2-3 tbsp Fresh Cream
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Salt – to taste
- Red Food Color – a pinch (Optional)
Marinate the Chicken
- Wash the chicken neatly until the water runs off clearly.
- Add salt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric to the chicken and mix well. Keep it aside for 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, take 1 tbsp of oil and add 1 tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder. Mix well.
- Then add little salt, curd and mix well. Add marinated chicken pieces into it and mix until you have a thick coating of the masala to the chicken pieces.
- Set aside for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
Grilling or Roasting Chicken
- Heat a 1 tbsp of oil/butter in a pan and place the marinated chicken pieces.
- Fry on low-medium flame till the moisture in the chicken evaporates. It may take 10-15 minutes.
- Flip the chicken pieces in between so that they cook evenly.
- Switch off the flame and keep aside.
Preparing the Gravy
- Take 1 cup of water in a Kadai/pan, add roughly chopped tomatoes, onions, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, ginger, garlic pods, cashews, green chillies, remaining Kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, kasoori methi, salt & little butter.
- Stir and cook on medium heat for 5 -10 minutes until the tomatoes are mushy.
- Turn off the heat & cool it down.
- Transfer it into a blender and blend into a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
Making of Butter Chicken / Murg Makhani
- To make the Chicken Makhni, heat the remaining butter in a non-stick pan and add the bay leaf.
- Then add the blended tomato gravy, 1 cup of water, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add the sugar and mix well.
- Cook until the gravy becomes thick & begins to leave the sides of the pan.
- Add the grilled or fried chicken pieces to the gravy. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Finally, add fresh cream & switch off the flame. Serve hot with naan or paratha.
- Marinate chicken for at least 1 hour, or overnight if time allows. The longer it marinates, the more tender your chicken will be.
- Don’t skip cashews and cream as the rich taste in the gravy comes from these two only.