Butter Chicken: a delicious Indian classic that you can easily make at home! The chicken is steeped in a beautiful yoghurt marinade, then simmered in a creamy Butter Chicken sauce. Welcome to comfort food heaven!
Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
Butter Chicken is easily one of the world’s favourite curries. Yet, most people would consider it too difficult to make at home, but not so! I’ve watched countless youtube clips (many not even in English) and read countless recipes (definitely in English), and was surprised to discover that you can make a really good Butter Chicken without having to pay a visit to an Indian supermarket.
l wanted to emulate a Butter Chicken dish that has sweet, sour, spicy and hot elements, tender pieces of chicken and the comforting creaminess of a curry sauce. If you are not drooling by now, you should be!
Easy Steps to a Butter Chicken
- Marinate the chicken with garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, garam masala and yoghurt.
- Bake the chicken in the oven for 10 minutes on 200 C / 400 F.
- Make the curry sauce by using onion, garlic, ground coriander, tomato paste, passata, cream and honey.
How Long should l Marinate the Chicken for?
This is a question l pondered on for awhile. Generally speaking, 24 hours seems to be the preferred amount of time to allow the marinade to really penetrate the meat, and that makes obvious sense.
In her FoodTube clip with Jaimie Oliver, Maunika Gowardhan, Indian chef and author, says that you can marinate the chicken for as little as 30 minutes or for as long as 24 hours. I have tried marinating for just 30 mins and l am sooo happy with it.
If you do give this recipe a go, you’ll find that you can make a rich, decadent, full flavoured Butter Chicken at home without too much stress.
Ok, l have a confession to make. I shopped for all my ingredients the night before l was going to do this cook & shoot. Towards the end of the shoot, l had one of those, “Didn’t l put the fresh coriander in the shopping trolley?” moments. I did put the coriander in the trolley, but where it went to after that, l do not know. Alas, what you see decorating the Butter Chicken is actually parsley; it was just too late to run to the shops … again😥
Preparation Time: 20 – 25 mins
Marinating Time: 30 mins – 24 hrs (note 1)
Cook Time: 20 mins
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp garlic, grated
- 1 tbsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (note 2)
- 1 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 750 g / 1.5 lbs chicken thigh fillets, cut into pieces (note 3)
- 30 g / 1 oz butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp garlic, grated
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup tomato puree / passata
- 3/4 cup thickened cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
To Finish Off
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- fresh coriander leaves
- Place all marinade ingredients (except chicken) in a bowl. Mix. Add chicken. Cover with cling film and refrigerate up to 24 hours (minimum 30 mins).
- Partially cook chicken in oven: Preheat oven to 200 C / 390 F. Cover the base of a large tray with aluminium foil. Arrange chicken on tray. Place on top rack of oven and bake for only 10 mins.
- The curry sauce: Melt butter in medium saucepan over moderate low heat. Add onion. Saute until soft.
- Add the ginger, garlic and ground coriander. Saute for 2 mins.
- Add the tomato paste. Cook until it turns a dark red colour (1 -2 mins).
- Add the passata, cream, honey and salt. Simmer on moderate heat for 5 mins (note 4).
- Place the chicken (along with the juices in the tray) in the pan and continue to simmer for 10 mins over moderate low heat. Taste and add more salt if required.
- To serve: Stir through 1 tbsp of lemon juice and sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves. Serve with basmati rice and my Soft Roti.
- I drew some of my inspiration for this dish from Maunika Gowardhan, Indian chef and author. She says you can marinate the chicken for as little as 30 minutes or for as long as 24 hours. I have tried marinating for just 30 mins and l am sooo happy with it.
- Three quarters of a teaspoon will give you a bit of a kick in your Butter Chicken. If you don’t like it too hot add less.
- I cut each thigh fillet into 6 or 8 pieces, depending on the size of the fillet.
- For a smoother sauce, use a stick blender or a regular blender to puree the mixture. l usually don’t do this. Who wants more washing up?