Butter Chicken
(Murgh Makhani)

Butter chicken is one of the famous dishes that originated on the Indian Subcontinent. It is a mild to medium hot curry. It has its roots in Delhi and was apparently invented by a gentleman 

Butter chicken garnished with tomatoes and coriander leaves

named Kundan Lal Gujral more than half a century ago. Apart from chicken it's main ingredients are fresh cream, tomatoes and butter.

Preparation time: 15 minutes 
Cooking time: at least 60 minutes
Resting time:  2 hours - 12 hours
Total time needed: at least 3 H 15 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard


Serves 4

Butter Chicken Recipe

  • 3 chicken breasts, skinned, deboned and meat cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • juice from half a small lemon 
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. plain paprika powder
  • 1 tsp. crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 red cayenne chillies, deseeded and finely chopped 
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 x 5 cm / 2 inch pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic (or to taste) peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 1 x 400 gram / 14 oz. can of  peeled tomatoes
  • 10 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp. golden syrup
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup of fresh cream
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro / coriander leaves


Butter Chicken garnished with tomatoes and coriander leaves

In a casserole dish add

  • yogurt
  • garam masala
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. paprika powder
  • 1/2 red cayenne chilli
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic

and whisk all the ingredients into a thick and smooth marinade.

  • Add chicken pieces and stir them into the marinade
  • Cover with lid or cling wrap and place into the fridge for at least 2 hours (longer is better)
  • Once the chicken has marinated long enough, preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius / 428 Fahrenheit
  • Remove lid from casserole dish and place chicken on the middle shelf in your oven
  • Once the marinade begins to boil let it cook for 20 minutes
  • While the chicken is in the oven add half the butter and the onions to a large skillet and braise them for about 5 minutes until they are beginning to become translucient
  • Add tomatoes, salt, cinnamon, the remaining chilli, garlic, and ginger, stir briefly, cover skillet partially with lid and when the sauce begins to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring it a few times during this process
  • Once the chicken is done, switch of the oven and let the chicken pieces cool down a little
  • Add fresh cream, golden syrup and the remaining butter to the curry, cover partially with the lid and once it begins to boil again gently simmer it for another 10 minutes
  • Now use a slotted spoon and remove the chicken pieces from the marinade dish and add them to the skillet, stir it briefly, cover with lid and let the chicken simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Take of the stove, garnish with fresh green coriander and serve "Butter chicken"hot with steamed rice or fresh naan. 

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The history of Butter Chicken

This recipe was inspired by VanessaV. My version was adapted to serve our taste. You can find her recipe in German language here.

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