Butter chicken recipe

Butter chicken recipe

Butter chicken or Murgh makhani, are at the top of the list of favourite foods of any chicken loving person. Ask any , and his favourite would be butter chicken.And why only a … I guess anyone and everyone loves ‘the butter chicken’.

I used to think that only punjabis love their butter chicken, but as I grew up and moved out of Punjab, met more and more people from different backgrounds and different parts of India, I realised that butter chicken was nations one of the favourite dishes, and now I realise that its not only nations favourite, but anyone who is a non vegetarian and likes  Indian food, has butter chicken as one of his /her favourites’,and that really made me think.. WHY??… YES, WHY NOT???

Even though it cannot be called a healthy , fresh or clean food, but the taste and the flavour is something that makes you fall in love with it!!!And you don’t need to have it everyday,  you can have it once a while.

This creamy textured, butter flavoured, tandoori chicken pieces,dipped in rich tomato and cream gravy sum up some beautiful rich flavours, that are neither too , nor too bland, but perfect for every taste bud.Hence it is loved by all.

And of course, when you are making “butter chicken” , in its authentic avatar, you cannot compromise on any of the ingredients that adds to its taste and richness. The real butter chicken, cannot be tagged as “free from”!!You do need to add a good amount of butter and cream , to get that authentic butter chicken taste.

If for any health reasons , you need to avoid dairy (,butter and cream) ,I am suggesting a few alternatives below. Using below alternatives, this dish cannot even be called butter chicken as there is no butter in it, but still it is the closest to butter chicken, as rest of the ingredients remain the same.   The taste will vary a bit, and it won’t be as  buttery but of course , nobody should have an excuse, to not have butter chicken !!

Options to replace dairy (butter and cream)-

  1. Use regular cooking oil/ olive oil instead of butter,if you do not want to use butter at all.
  2. Instead of cream, you can use cashew paste – It is a  good alternative for cream. Dip half cup of cashews in warm water for half an hour or more. Once they are a little soft, blend therein a blender to make cashew paste.
  3. If you do not want to use too many cashews, you can even use cashew and muskmelon seeds paste. This is  a good and healthier alternative to using cream, or just cashews.To make this take 1/4 cup of cashews and half a cup of musk melon seeds. mix both and dip in warm water for half an hour or more. Once soft, blend these in a mixer/ blender to form a paste.
  4.  In this , i have used yoghurt in the chicken marinade. However if you do not want to  use yoghurt , completely skip adding it to the marinade. Or else,Instead make a  paste of a tbsp of chickpea flour and little water and add it to the marinade inlace of yoghurt and add rest of the spices as in the .

The above alternatives are only incase if you want to avoid adding any dairy products, for maybe health reasons, or any other reasons. Otherwise I would really suggest you use the real ingredients to enjoy the real butter chicken!!As I always say, workout a little more the next day, but enjoy the true taste of real natural food:), and anyways as I said,nobody eats butter chicken everyday , just enjoy it once in a while.

For my recipe, I have actually used, cream, as well as cashew/melonseeds paste , to make the taste more rich. As I said earlier, you can use just cream as well.

butter chicken
butter chicken
muskmelon seeds
muskmelon seeds

 

cashew and muskmelon seeds cream
cashew and muskmelon seeds paste

 

I use ‘boneless’ chicken for making butter chicken, but you can use ‘with bone’ as well. Just ensure the pieces are cut small. For making any chicken , I usually shop the chicken from the asian stores or local market , and not super stores, as you need skinless chicken, and small chicken pieces. Also for butter chicken, the best is to have the whole chicken, and not specifically using breast pieces or thigh pieces. Ask for whole skinless chicken, cut into small pieces , with or without bones

To begin with this recipe, you need to marinate and grill the chicken slices in the oven. If you do not have an oven, you can simply cook the marinated chicken slices in a grilling pan , or regular pan.I would suggest marinating the chicken overnight if you have time, or else for a minimum of 4-5 hours. So plan ahead if you are thinking of making the butter chicken this weekend:)

Preparing Chicken Marinade-This involves two marinades.

First Marinade-

This is a very simple step, and doing this step helps to make the chicken pieces really juicy and soft. This step simply requires making a marinade of salt, chilli powder(you can use degi mirchi powder, Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika) and lemon juice.Add chicken pieces, and mix well. Cover with cling film, and keep in the refrigerator for half an  hour.

butter chicken
butter chicken

Second Marinade

For the second marinade you need Yoghurt (If the yoghurt is too thin, you can hang it in a muslin cloth for 30 minutes, so that the excess water drains out, and then use the curd. Or you can even use greek yoghurt, or homemade curd),little mustard oil, a pinch of saffron dipped in 1 tsp of warm water, cumin powder, tandoori powder (this is easily available in any asian store, or even amazon), few cloves garlic, slice of ginger, a green chilli, garam masala powder, kasoori methi, chilli powder.

Though most of the restaurants, add a little red food colour to give that nice smoky red colour to the grilled chicken, I am not adding any colours. Adding saffron  gives a little colour to the chicken, and it is natural,so a better alternative to using food colours.

Make a rough paste of the garlic/ green chilli and ginger.

butter chicken
Ginger garlic green chilli paste
butter chicken
Ginger garlic green chilli paste

Mix all the ingredients of the second marinade together – yoghurt, garlic ginger chilli paste,mustard oil, saffron, cumin powder, tandoori powder, garam masala powder, salt, hand crushed kasoori methi ,red chilli powder.

Add the marinade over the chicken pieces (which are already marinated in the first marinade), and cover these well with the second marinade.Mix well.

butter chicken
butter chicken

 

 

butter chicken
butter chicken

Cover the bowl with a cling film, and keep marinated in the refrigerator for a minimum for 4-5 hrs, or even overnight if you are preparing these ahead of time.

Preparing the tandoori chicken-

Once the chicken is marinated , put the pieces on the skewers, and bake it in the oven at 180 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, turning the skewers once in between so that all sides are nicely cooked. Once it is done for about 15 minutes, brush a little butter on the pieces, and  then grill it in the oven for about 5 minutes. This gives a nice chargrilled effect to the pieces.

tandoori chicken
tandoori chicken
tandoori chicken 1
tandoori chicken 1

 

 

 

butter chicken
tandoori chicken

 

 

 

 

tandoori chicken
tandoori chicken

If you do not have an oven, you can use the pan to cook the marinated chicken. Add a little butter in the pan, and lay down all chicken pieces in single flat layer, and cook them for about 7-8 minutes on one side. Then turn the side and cook nicely on all sides.

Preparing the gravy-

For the gravy you would need butter,2-3 tbsp of butter.  You can use homemade white butter, or you can use store-bought butter . Use either salted, or unsalted butter. Just adjust the amount of salt in the dish according to the butter you are using.

Also you would need a small onion, tomatoes, crushed/grated ginger garlic, green chillies, whole spices- bay leaf,cardamom, black peppers, cloves, cinnamon stick, cream, sugar (or honey or jaggery),salt, chilli powder, deli mirchi powder, garam masala powder,kasoori methi.

If you are using cashew/melonseed paste. then you would of course need cashews and melon seeds.

 

butter chicken
butter chicken
butter chicken
butter chicken

In a thick bottomed pan, heat butter Add bay leaf, and the whole spices-cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon stick.Temper this for a minute.Add grated ginger and garlic, sauté these for 2-3 minutes, till the raw aroma goes away.Add chopped onions, and sauté, till these are golden brown.Add pureed tomatoes, and sauté till the masala leaves oil on the sides, and is done.

butter chicken
butter chicken

 

butter chicken
butter chicken
butter chicken
butter chicken

If you are using the cashew/ melon seeds paste, add the paste at this step, and mix well. You need to keep stirring so that the paste does not stick to the pan. This would need 2-3 minutes on medium heat.If you are just using cream, then proceed to the next step.Cream will be added in the end.

Now add the dry spices-salt, red chilli powder, Kashmiri chilli powder, garam masala, kasoori methi.Mix well.Add  a cup of water, and simmer for a minute, till it starts boiling.

butter chicken
butter chicken

Once the gravy is done, Add cream, and mix well.Add a little sugar or honey. You can even use jaggery to sweeten this.A little sweetness is added, as this recipe calls for adding lots of tomatoes, and that makes the gravy a little . Adding a little sugar / honey/ jaggery helps to balance out that tanginess.Mix well

butter chicken
butter chicken

Once everything is done- the chicken is cooked and the gravy is ready, add the tandoori chicken pieces in hot gravy and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add a dollop of butter, and a splash of cream. Garnish it with ginger jullienes, and slit green chillies. Serve it hot with butter naan, and  Indian pickled onions.

butter chicken
butter chicken

 

butter chicken
butter chicken

Let me know when you try this recipe. Leave a comment if you like it.Detailed recipe below.

 

Butter Chicken recipe
Prep Time
8 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
8 hrs 50 mins
 

Chunky juicy tandoori chicken pieces dipped in buttery tomato gravy.

Course: curry, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, , punjabi
Keyword: Butter chicken, chicken, murgh makhani
Servings: 4 people
Author: anubhav mahajan
Ingredients
For first marinade
  • 1 kgs chicken Skinless and boneless
  • lemon juice Juice of one lemon
  • salt
  • degi mirchi/ kashmiri mirch powder paprika can be used
For second marinade
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt hung curd/ or thick yoghurt / greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp mustard oil
  • a pinch of saffron dipped in 1/2 tsp of warm water
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp tandoori powder
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch slice of ginger
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) handcrused
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
For the gravy
  • 2-3 tbsp butter use home made unsalted or store bought salted or unsalted
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 pods cardamom slightly crushed
  • 3-4 black pepper whole
  • 2-3 cloves whole
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick whole
  • 1 small Onion Chopped fine
  • 3 medium tomatoes Pureed
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 inch slice of ginger grated
  • ginger juliennes
  • 4-5 green chillies slit long
  • 7-8 cashews (if using)dipped in warm water for 15-20 min
  • 1 tbsp melon seeds (is using) dipped in warm water for 15-20 min
  • 1/2-3/4 cup thick cream
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp degi mirchi powder/ kashmiri chilli powder can use mild paprika instead
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tsp sugar/ honey/ jaggery
  • fresh coriander for garnishing
  • 1 tbsp butter for garnish
Instructions
First Marinade
  1. Mix lemon juice, salt and Chilli (either of the three-paprika/ degi mirchi powder/ Kashmiri chilli powder).

  2. Dip chicken pieces in the marinade, and coat the pieces nicely, with the marinade. Cover the bowl with a cling film, and keep in the refrigerator for half an hour

    butter chicken
Second marinade
  1. Make a rough paste of the garlic/ green chilli and ginger.

  2. Mix all the ingredients of the second marinade together - yoghurt, ginger garlic green chilli paste, mustard oil, saffron dipped in water, cumin powder, tandoori powder, garam masala powder, salt, hand crushed kasoori methi ,red chilli powder.

  3. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces (which are already marinated in the first marinade), cover these with the second marinade.Mix well.

    butter chicken
  4. Cover the bowl with a cling film, and keep marinated in the refrigerator for a minimum for 4-5 hrs, or even overnight if you are preparing these ahead of time.

Butter chicken gravy
  1. If you are using cashews and melon seeds- Make a paste of these.

    cashew and muskmelon seeds cream
  2. In a thick bottomed pan, heat butter .

  3. Add bay leaf, and rest of the whole spices-cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon stick.Temper this for a minute.

    butter chicken
  4. Add grated ginger and garlic, sauté these for 2-3 minutes, till the raw aroma goes away.

  5. Add chopped onions, and sauté, till these are golden brown.

    butter chicken
  6. Add tomato puree, and sauté till the masala leaves oil on the sides, and is done.

    butter chicken
  7. If you are using the cashew/ melon seeds paste, add the paste at this step, and mix well. You need to keep stirring so that the paste does not stick to the pan. This would need 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

    butter chicken
  8. Now add the dry spices-salt, red chilli powder, Kashmiri chilli powder, garam masala, kasoori methi.Mix well.

  9. Add  a cup of water, and simmer for a minute, till it starts boiling

    butter chicken
  10. Add cream, and mix well.

  11. Add a little sugar or honey. You can even use jaggery to sweeten this.Mix well.

    butter chicken
To prepare tandoori chicken
  1. Put the marinated chicken pieces, on a skewer, and heat on a wire rack for about 15-18minutes at 180 degrees

    tandoori chicken
  2. Turn them once after 10 minutes, so that it is done on all sides.

    butter chicken
  3. once almost done,Brush butter on the chicken pieces.and grill it for almost 2-5 minutes.

    tandoori chicken
  4. Once everything is done- the chicken is cooked and the gravy is ready, add the tandoori chicken pieces in hot gravy and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add a dollop of butter, and a splash of cream.Mix. Garnish it with ginger jullienes, and slit green chillies, more cream. Serve it hot with butter naan, and  Indian pickled onions.

    butter chicken
Recipe Notes

Options to replace dairy (butter and cream)-

  1. Use regular cooking oil/ olive oil instead of butter,if you do not want to use butter at all.
  2. Instead of cream, you can use cashew paste - It is a  good alternative for dairy free cream. Dip half cup of cashews in warm water for half an hour or more. Once they are a little soft, blend therein a blender to make cashew paste.
  3. If you do not want to use too many cashews, you can even use cashew and muskmelon seeds paste. This is  a good and healthier alternative to using cream, or just cashews.To make this take 1/4 cup of cashews and half a cup of musk melon seeds. mix both and dip in warm water for half an hour or more. Once soft, blend these in a mixer/ blender to form a paste.
  4.  In this recipe, i have used yoghurt in the chicken marinade. However if you do not want to  use yoghurt , completely skip adding it to the marinade. Or else,Instead make a  paste of a tbsp of chickpea flour and little water and add it to the marinade inlace of yoghurt and add rest of the spices as in the recipe.

The above alternatives are only incase if you want to avoid adding any dairy products, for maybe health reasons, or any other reasons. Otherwise I would really suggest you use the real ingredients to enjoy the real butter chicken!!As I always say, workout a little more the next day, but enjoy the true taste of real natural food:), and anyways as I said,nobody eats butter chicken everyday , just enjoy it once in a while.

If you do not have an oven, you can use the pan to cook the marinated chicken. Add a little butter in the pan, and lay down all chicken pieces in single flat layer, and cook them for about 7-8 minutes on one side. Then turn the side and cook nicely on all sides.

 

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