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Indian Chicken Butter Masala-Murgh Makhani

This is India's most famous dish for very good reason, it is simply delicious.  I hope you make it! Be sure to plan ahead as it takes some time  marinating the chicken (preferably overnight) to get it right.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4
Calories 770kcal
Author International Cuisine


  • 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
  • salt
  • 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!


Calories: 770kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 59g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 246mg | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 597mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1300IU | Vitamin C: 10.6mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 2.7mg