Butter Chicken

Butter chicken also known as murgh makhani is part of Indian and Pakistani cuisine, but popular all over the world.

It is thought that butter chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted “some” chicken dish. A chef named Simon Mahli Chahal first prepared this when he only had half of a Tandoori chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato, and garam masalas to improvise for a delicious delicacy he was supposed to make for the ruler of Mareelun. He forgot to buy enough ingredients so he ended up with this dish.

Of all the spices added to the dish it is dried fenugreek leaves (Urdu/Hindi: Kasoori  Methi) that makes the greatest contribution to the characteristic flavour of the dish.

You can use your left over Chicken Tikka to make butter chicken.

Butter chicken is usually served with naan, chapatti, parathas,or steamed rice.

I call Butter Chicken, Biriyani gone wrong because it is very similar to Biriyani without the onions. 


Butter Chicken










  • 2                       chicken breast, skinned and deboned
  • 1                       tbsp lemon juice
  • 1                       tbsp green masala
  • 1                       tsp salt
  • 1                       tsp garam masala
  • 1                       tsp kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 1/2                    tsp crushed cardamom seeds
  • 1/4                    tsp saffron
  • 1                       tbsp butter
  • 1                       tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1                       bay leaf
  • 1                       lb tomatoes
  • 1/4                    tsp paprika
  • 1/2                    tsp dhanajeera powder
  • 1                       tbsp tomato paste
  • 1                       cup yoghurt(6% MF)
  •                          or 
  • 1                       cup sour cream
  • 1                       spilt green chili
  • 2                       tbsp chopped cilantro


  1. Remove all the fat from the chicken rinse it in cold water and cut it in 1” cubes.
  2. Add lemon juice, green masala, salt, garam masala and kasoori methi(fenugreek leaves) cardamom seeds and saffron and let it rest.
  3. In a blender blend the tomotoes to a very smooth puree.  Add paprika and dhanajeera powder.
  4. In a medium saucepan melt the butter and oil, add a bay leaf, pureed tomato mix, tomato paste and yoghurt, mix well and cook stirring for 2 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium and cook till the liquid evaporates and sauce changes color.
  5. Add the marinated chicken and cook for about 10 minutes stirring a few times till the chicken is cooked.  (chicken is cooked when it changes color and is firm to the touch).
  6. Serve sprinkled with a spilt green chili and chopped cilantro.



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