Indian chicken butter masala is probably the most well known Indian dish in the world.
It goes by many different names like Butter chicken, butter masala or murgh makhani.
This delicious chicken curry in a tomato based gravy is a common site at roadside dhabas all over India.
This can be made without chicken and with paneer instead, a super easy to make cheese recipe or you can just enjoy the curry without any cheese or chicken and just some fresh garlic naan bread. Enjoy!
Indian Chicken Butter Masala-Murgh Makhani
- 2 lbs. chicken washed, patted dry and cut into small pieces – (use breast or thigh meat whichever you prefer or both)
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- oil/butter/ghee to baste while grilling
- For marinade:
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt strained/hung or use 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 ½ teaspoons kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 ½ Tablespoon mustard oil or any other cooking oil
- 1 ½ Tablespoon ginger paste
- ½ tablespoon garlic paste
- For the sauce/Makhani Masala:
- 2 ½ inches fresh ginger made into a paste
- 8-10 cloves of garlic made into a paste
- 2-4 fresh green chili pepper slit
- 4 tablespoon melted butter
- 4 green cardamoms
- 2 inch of cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 black cardamom
- 1/2 -3/4 teaspoon methi/fenugreek seeds
- 3-3 ½ cups tomato puree fresh tomatoes or 2 ½ cups canned tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon red chili powder/cayenne pepper/paprika or to taste
- 10 almonds soaked, peeled and made into a paste
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 Tablespoon kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves very lightly toasted on a dry skillet and crushed
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar or honey adjust this based on how tart the tomatoes are. The dish should not be sweet. The sugar is used to neutralize the acid
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Apply red chili powder, lemon juice and salt to the chicken and set aside for 20 minutes. This is the first marinade.
- Combine all ingredients of the second marinade (see ingredient list). Apply this marinade to the chicken and refrigerate for three to four hours; overnight is best.
- Put the chicken on skewers and cook on a grill turning once. Cook until done. Do not overcook. Baste it with butter/ghee/oil or marinade if you want, a couple of times while cooking. Set aside once done.
- Cooking the Sauce:
- Note: This recipe makes more than you need for this recipe which is two cups of the sauce, it freezes well until you are ready to make this recipe again.
- Heat butter/ghee or oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add green cardamoms, black cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Sauté for a couple of minutes or till they start to sizzle and get fragrant; add the methi/fenugrek seeds. When the methi seeds sizzle, add ginger paste and garlic paste, and the slit green chillies. Cook in medium heat for five to eight minutes; the water from the paste would have evaporated and the ginger garlic paste reduced in quantity.
- Add tomato puree or paste, red chili powder, and salt. Cook (may partially cover during cooking) at medium heat for about 15 – 20 minutes. The puree will reduce to a thick paste and the oil/ghee will separate from the sides of the pan.
- After the tomatoes are cooked down, you might want to blend the cooked sauce (along with all the spices) into a smooth puree, if you want a restaurant like smooth texture for the sauce – especially if you are using fresh tomatoes. return it back to the pan after blending and continue with the rest of the process.
- Add 2 ½ cups of hot water to the pan (or if you want it less soupy and want the sauce to coat the chicken pieces and have a little bit extra, add less water or simmer for longer time to achieve the consistency as per your taste), add the almond paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes; add sugar and crushed kasuri methi.
- Add cooked grilled chicken pieces. Stir well to combine – the chicken will be well coated with the sauce. Cover and simmer for eight to ten minutes; Lower the heat and add garam masala and the heavy cream. Stir in the cream and simmer at low heat for about five more minutes.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and add a splash of cream before serving.
- Enjoy with some hot garlic naan!