Butter Chicken – Murgh Makhani

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken is probably one of the most popular Indian dishes. One can find it on the menu in almost every (non-vegetarian) Indian restaurant. The name itself depicts that this course is indulgent. The butter and cream that goes into it makes the dish creamy and rich. This is a fancy dish, one that we would want to make to impress our loved ones or for a special get together. It is vibrant, fragrant and delicious.

The chicken curry I make regularly is a bit different from the way butter chicken is prepared. The traditional curry is closer to heart since it is the way mom used to make the chicken curry on our lazy sundays! But, I guess I’ll save that recipe for another day!

Chicken Tikka


There are two parts of making this dish – chicken tikka and the gravy. The chicken pieces are first marinated and then cooked (traditionally in a tandoor) in the oven until they are almost done. They are then finished off in a buttery, creamy gravy. The flavor base for the gravy starts with butter, onions and tomatoes and then builds on the fragrant spices and which is then perfected with a little more butter and heavy cream. Since, the gravy for butter chicken is nice and smooth, I used garam masala instead of whole spices that I usually prefer in any non-vegetarian dish.



Garnish with a drizzle of heavy cream and chopped coriander and serve this gorgeous dish with naan and pulav for a special occasion or with roti and steaming basmati rice to keep it simple.



– 1n1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2-inch pieces
– 1 medium red onion finely chopped
– 1n1/2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste
– 1/2 tsp turmeric
– 1n1/2 tsp red chilli powder
– 1/2 tsp cumin powder
– 1/2 tsp coriander powder
– 1 tsp garam masala
– 1n1/2 tsp salt or to taste
– 1n1/2 cup tomato puree (preferrably fresh)
– 1n1/2 tsp sugar
– 1/2 stick of butter
– 1/2 cup (or more, if desired) of heavy cream

– 1/2 tsp turmeric
– 2 tsps red chilli powder
– 1/2 tsp garam masala
– 3/4th tsp salt
– 2 Tbsps thick plain yogurt
– 3 tsps of oil
– 1 tsp of lime juice


1. Take the chicken breasts and slice it horizontally in between all the way through (like you’d do to make a cutlet). Then slice each slice into 2 inch pieces and take these in a bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients together – turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, salt, yogurt, oil and lime juice. Pour this marinade over the chicken pieces and coat them well. Cover and place this in the refrigerator overnight or for atleast an hour allowing the chicken to absorb all the flavors.
3. In the meanwhile, set your oven to ‘broil-high’. Prepare a baking sheet with a similar size grilling rack placed above it. Arrange the marinated chicken pieces over the grill rack and pop it into the oven and broil it for around 20 minutes. Halfway through turn the pieces to the other side and brush some oil over all the pieces.
4. When these are done, remove into a bowl and set aside.

1. In a skillet or pan, heat 1/4th stick of butter. Add finely chopped onions and saute until light brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute or two.
2. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin, coriander powder and 1/2 tsp of garam masala. Saute for around 3 to 4 minutes until the spices are nicely browned.
3. Add tomato puree and sugar. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Should take around 10 to 12 minutes. You’ll see the gravy thicken a little.
4. Add the chicken tikka to the skillet now. Add the remaining 1/4th stick of butter and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Cover and let cook further for around 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Remove into a serving bowl and garnish with some heavy cream and chopped coriander.

This is best served with naan and pulav/pulao. A splendid meal!

Butter Chicken & Roti

1. Make sure not to over cook the chicken as it tends to dry out and harden on the outside if over cooked.
2. You could use the bake setting on the oven instead of broil, but I prefer broiling meat since it is at a higher temperature and cooks better in my opinion.