Butter chicken or murgh makhani is an Indian dish from the Punjab region popular in countries all over the world that have a tradition of Indian restaurants. Known for its fiery red color the dish is not considered spicy on the contrary most places serve it slightly on the sweeter side but can be made hot as well. Murg Makhani is a dish that has wonderful flavor and a rich and creamy texture. If you haven’t already, you will surely fall in love with it!
Legend has it that a customer walked in a Delhi restaurant late at night when all dishes were finished, so the chef just threw a leg of tandoori chicken in a gravy of butter and tomatoes and some mild spices. The dish was loved and became a regular fare.
It is a dish made by marinating a chicken overnight in a yoghurt and spice mixture usually including garam masala, ginger, lemon or lime, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli, methi and garlic. While the Makhani sauce is made from butter, tomatoes, almonds and various spices, often including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and sometimes cream. Once the sauce is prepared, the marinated and roasted chicken is chopped and added to it.
Butter chicken is usually served with naan, roti, parathas or steamed rice.
Butter Chicken Recipe
Chicken – 1.5 lbs, boneless skinless thighs
Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
Red Chili Powder – to taste
Salt – to taste
Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Ginger & Garlic Paste – 4 tsp
Tandoori Masala – 2 tsp
Unsalted Butter – 1.5 tbsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Big Cardamom – 1
Green Cardamom – 2
Cinnamon Stick – 1″ pc.
Bay Leaf – 1
Tomatoes – 3 large, pureed
Sugar – 1 tsp or to taste
Dried Methi Leaves (Kasoori Methi) – 1 tbsp
Green Chili – to taste, finely chopped
Heavy Whipping Cream – 1 cup or to taste
Cilantro – 3 sprigs, finely chopped
1. Cut the Chicken to bite-size pieces and wash it well.
2. In a bowl (or large Ziplock bag) add the following – Lemon Juice, 2 tsps of Ginger & Garlic Paste, Tandoori Masala, Red Chili Powder, Salt and Yogurt.
3. Mix well and marinate in the refrigerator overnight for best results or atleast a couple of hours.
4. Grease a broiler dish with ghee, oil or cooking spray and layer the Chicken in a single layer. Broil on high for 5-7 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on it as every oven varies. The size of the chicken pieces makes a difference and where you place the rack in the oven plays a big role in how long the chicken needs to be cooked.
5. For the gravy, in a medium size pan on medium heat, melt and heat the Butter.
6. Once hot, add the Cardamoms, Bay Leaf and Cinnamon Stick. Fry for 1 minute.
7. Add the balance of Ginger and Garlic paste and fry of 30 secs.
8. Add in the Green Chilis and the Tomato Puree. Mix well.
9. Add in the Salt, Red Chili Powder and Garam Masala and mix well.
10. Allow it to come to a boil and then lower the heat and let the gravy simmer for 10 minutes till most of the juice from the tomatoes evaporates.
11. Add in the Sugar and the Dried Methi Leaves and allow it to cook for another 2 minutes before adding broiled Chicken pieces. Mix well to coat Chicken.
12. Add the Whipping Cream, mix and allow it to come to a boil and take it off the flame.
13. At this point, do a taste test and adjust the salt, sugar and the liquid in the gravy.
14. Mix in half the Cilantro in the dish and garnish the balance while serving.
Butter Chicken Recipe
Ingredients (serves 4)
* 125ml (1/2 cup) natural yoghurt
* 1 tbs lemon juice
* 1 tsp turmeric
* 2 tsp garam masala
* 1 tsp chilli powder
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
* 2 garlic cloves, crushed
* 1kg chicken breast fillets, chopped
* 125g cashews, roasted
* 60g unsalted butter
* 1 tbs sunflower oil
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 tsp ground cardamom
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 Indian bay leaf or normal bay leaf
* 2 tsp sweet paprika
* 425g can tomato puree
* 150ml chicken stock
* 250ml (1 cup) thickened cream
* Steamed basmati rice, to serve
1. Combine yoghurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, chilli, cumin, ginger and garlic in a bowl. Add chicken and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Reserve half the cashews and place remaining cashews in a food processor. Process until finely ground.
3. Heat the butter and oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Reduce heat to low, then add chicken and marinade, paprika, tomato puree, cashew powder and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cream and cook for a further 10 minutes.
4. Garnish with cashews, chopped coriander and serve with rice.