Simple Indian Recipes...
Delicious and healthy dishes that can be made even by first timers.

Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)

 Published 2008-Feb-04   Updated 2017-Aug-06

- Submitted by Dahlia

(Punjabi Chicken Makhani, Murg Makhani)

Butter Chicken, also known as Murg Makhani is a traditional dish from the state of Punjab in India. It has become popular throughout the world. Chicken pieces marinated in hung curd and spices is then cooked in a tandoor. This is known as Tandoori Chicken, which is another popular dish served by itself. When these juicy tandoori chicken pieces are then simmered in a creamy makhani gravy, you have the delicious butter chicken curry. It makes an excellent combination with some soft Naan Bread or with some Pulav. Most of us must have tasted this dish in restaurants many times. Did you know that making butter chicken at home is also possible? It is actually quite simple.

How to make Butter Chicken at home? As I mentioned before, the chicken pieces are first marinated in yogurt and spices. This special marinate is what makes the chicken pieces juicy and tender. Traditionally it is then cooked in a tandoor. At home it can be cooked in an electric tandoor if you own one. If not, the chicken pieces can be grilled in an oven. However, most of my blog visitors may not own a tandoor or an oven. Hence I have shared the recipe by cooking the chicken pieces on stove top. It can then be cooked in the traditional Makhani Sauce.

Makhani, also means buttery. Makhani sauce is a special sauce made with lots of butter, pureed tomatoes, cashew nuts, red chili powder, kasoori methi, garam masala and fresh cream. This buttery sauce is mildly spiced making this a kids favorite. People from other countries who are not used to the Indian spicy food can easily start with trying this dish. I always prefer to make butter chicken for get togethers since it is always a hit.

So go ahead and try out this Punjabi Chicken Makhani today. You don't have to spend your pennies on restaurants.

Recipe for Butter Chicken

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Chicken - 1 lb (boneless, skinless)
  • Whole Spices - 1" piece cinnamon, 2 cloves, 2 cardamoms
  • Hung Curd (or Greek Yogurt) - 1/2 cup
  • Lime Juice - 1 tbsp
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
  • Kasoori Methi - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro - for garnish
  • Oil - 2 tbsp

For Makhani Sauce

  • Tomato - 5 (pureed)
  • Cashews (or Almonds) - 10
  • Ginger Garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • Green chili - 1 (chopped, optional)
  • Kasoori Methi -  1 tsp 
  • Fresh Cream ( or Heavy cream) - 1/2 cup
  • Red Chili powder - 1 tsp 
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste 
  • Butter - 2 tbsp

Method

  1. Wash the chicken, pat it dry using a paper towel and cut it into 1 inch thick cubes.
  2. Marinate the chicken pieces with hung curd, required salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, kasoori methi, little oil and ginger garlic paste.
  3. Let it rest for at least 1/2 hour. Overnight marination will be good.
  4. After marination, heat a grill pan or any frying pan. Add some oil and put the chicken pieces along with the marinade.
  5. Shallow fry until all the moisture that oozes out evaporates. It will take about 10 minutes. You can also bake it in the oven, grill it or use an electric tandoor.
  6. Remove the pieces and keep it aside while we prepare the makhani sauce.
  7. Heat some butter in the same pan and add the whole garam masala. Add the ginger garlic paste and green chili.
  8. Fry for a minute and then add the tomato puree, salt and red chili powder. Cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Add the cashew paste. Also add about 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.
  10. Next add the fried chicken pieces. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes in medium low flame so the flavors combine nicely.
  11. Now add the crushed kasoori methi and garam masala powder. Add the heavy cream, mix everything and let it simmer for few minutes.
  12. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and some more fresh cream. Enjoy your delicious butter chicken.

Detailed Steps to make Butter Chicken

Wash the chicken, pat it dry using a paper towel and cut it into 1 inch thick cubes.Marinate with hung curd, required salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, kasoori methi, little oil and ginger garlic paste. Instead of all these individual spices you can use about 1 tbsp of any good brand of tandoori chicken masala for marination along with yogurt. Let it rest for at least 1 hour. If there is time, overnight marination will be good.

Butter Chicken preparation Step Butter Chicken preparation Step

After marination, heat a grill pan or any frying pan. Add some oil and put the chicken pieces along with the marinade. Lot of moisture will ooze out. Shallow until the pieces become dry and little browned. It will take about 10 minutes. You can also bake it in the oven, grill it or use an electric tandoor.

Butter Chicken preparation Step Butter Chicken preparation Step

Remove the pieces. Now lets prepare the makhani sauce.

Heat butter in the same pan and add the whole spices. Add the ginger garlic paste, green chili and fry for a minute.

Butter Chicken preparation Step Butter Chicken preparation Step

Add the tomato puree, salt and red chili powder. I just blend the raw tomatoes and strain it. Some people like to blanch the tomatoes before pureeing. Straining removes all the seeds and skin to give a smooth gravy. Cook for few minutes.

Butter Chicken preparation Step

Add the cashew paste or almond paste. Also add about 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.

Butter Chicken preparation Step

Next add the cooked chicken pieces. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes in medium low flame so the flavors combine nicely.

Butter Chicken preparation Step

Now add the crushed kasoori methi and garam masala powder. Add the heavy cream, mix everything and let it simmer for few minutes.

Butter Chicken preparation Step

Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and some more fresh cream. Enjoy your delicious butter chicken.

Butter Chicken preparation Step

Tips

  • If you do not have heavy cream on hand, substitute with whole milk and butter.
  • In restaurants one spoon of sugar is usually added to the butter chicken gravy to get that sweetish taste. Sometimes I add 2-3 tbsp of tomato ketchup instead, which gives that sweetish taste along with the tomato flavor.

Serving Butter Chicken

  • Butter Chicken or Murg Makhani tastes great with some soft butter naan, garlic naan, kulcha or chapatti.
  • It is also a good combination with fragrant pulao varieties or plain rice made with good quality basmati rice.

More Chicken Recipes

Chicken Manchurian Chicken Manchurian Almond Chicken Almond Chicken Murgi Kosha Murgi Kosha Orange Chicken Orange Chicken
See More Chicken Dishes...

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Comments (19)

Person   ()
Do we need to add the garam masalas and all again after putting in the chicken pieces in the gravy or just that one time for frying?
Person   ()
I add half the spices while marinating and the remaining in the gravy.
Person   ()
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! I never thought I'd be able to make Indian food at home, but I took a trip to the local Indian grocery (such fun!) and made this chicken makhani today. It turned out just perfect. I just can't wait to try my hand at a shahi paneer korma. :D
Person   ()
That's nice to hear Reshanna. Do try the other recipes. Also do not hesitate to ask if you have any doubts.
Person   ()
Yum! Made a ton of shortcuts and it still turned out delicious. Used a can of diced tomatoes and chilis, used fresh garlic and dried ginger instead of the paste, used dried cumin instead of seeds, used milk instead of cream and raw peanuts instead of cashews. It was still so good!
Person   ()
Thats the fun part of cooking - alter things according to your preference, convenience and availability of ingredients :-)
Person   ()
I'm newly married I wanna make a very strong impression upon my in laws so need osm reciepes u guyz please snd me on my number 8553410892 its my number please guyz help me
Person   ()
I am sorry but we do not send it to phone numbers.. please do check the website often... you will find lots of new recipes....
Person   ()
what are the spices used
Person   ()
A little bit of corriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala and turmeric powder. Its a mild gravy with very little spice.
Person   ()
Yes
Person   ()
does vitamin d milk is whole milk?
Person   ()
Regular milk with vitamin D supplements added is called vitamin D milk. In US, vitamin D milk is usually whole milk only. Otherwise it will be specified as 1% , 2% etc.
Person   ()
wat else can be replaced with fresh cream ?
Person   ()
butter and regular milk
Person   ()
whole milk means???
Person   ()
whole milk means milk with full fat content.
Person   ()
Tried this again, instead of chicken i used - soy chunks, and instead of heavy cream - whole milk. Came out great :) Thanks for the great recipe.
Person   ()
wow.. Thanks for sharing your variations dan.

Post Comment


Old Comments

Comment by kiruba dharani
          hi dahlia, recipe makes me to try atleast once
can i replace heavy cream with fresh cream
r they both same or different
i am thinking about ur time management with ur family
u must be enjoying ur family with kitchen surprises
hope u do more surprising
do reply
regards
kiruba
 
Reply :-
    Hi Kiruba, You can replace heavy cream with fresh cream. Heavy cream has higher fat content than fresh cream.
    Thank You for the compliments. Yes I try to give surprises to my family atleast once a week. The other days even I am a busy working mom running around and making quick fix meals most of the time.

Comment by Ashley WOng
    Hi! Does all the herbs and spices have to be in the butter chicken? Are there any substitutes? It is very hard to find spices here in Hong Kong.
 
Reply :-
    Hi Ashley, Sorry to hear that you are not able to find all the spices. I'm really not able to help you with the substitutes. If you can just get hold of atleast chilly powder and corriander powder, you can proceed with the recipe.

Comment by Yatin Patel
    You have got some good recipes which are easy to make.

Reply :-
Thanks Yatin. I love to cook varities without slogging in the kitchen.

Comment by madhu groy
hi!
thanx a lot my hubby has bcom a fan of urs, he tried and...... it was finger licking till last drop for me and my 7 yr old, he l..o..v..e..s butter chicken!!

Reply :-
    Thats so encouraging to hear. Thank You.

Comment by Vikas Sarna
    Hi,I think today is a lucky day for me bcz I found this site chancly and am fond of Non Veg recipies :cooking sharing and as well as eating too.The best thing which I found in your site is the simpleness to cook anything.Its Great Yaar.
 
Reply :-
    Hi Vikas, Thank You. Even I am a non veg lover.

Comment by harika a
hi
i accidentally visited this site
however,
i find it better than most other sites as
it has images of how dish will look after preparation

this helps us plan menu even better
and gives better understanding

luv de idea
 
Reply :-
    Thanks Harika.

Comment by  n m on 27 February 2010 01:50AM          
    Hai i tried this recipe. it came out really good.thanx
 
Reply :-
    thats nice to hear!!!

Comment by Puja Panday on 27 September 2009 10:52AM
    Hi...can i Know if we can substitute the cream to something more healthier other than butter/cheese?

Thanks:)
 
Reply :-
    Substitute with milk. It may not be as creamy as the one with cream but it will still be good.

Comment by susan george on 22 September 2009 06:02AM
    hey dahlia...thank you for the recipe..my hubby loved it...
 
Reply :-
    Oh Great!!!

Comment by sunitha menon on 13 September 2009 19:25PM    
    can we use chicken thighs to make butter chicken?
 
Reply :-
    yes, you can use boneless skiness chicken thighs too for butter chicken.

Comment by Aan mary  on 02 June 2009 03:02AM
    What is that heavy cream adding to the gravy?What is the name of that ?From where I will get that ?
 
Reply :-
    You could use heavy whipping cream to the gravy. It gives a rich creamy texture and taste to the gravy.
Heavy cream is called by different names as fresh cream, double cream etc.

Comment by Remya Ponniah on 10 February 2009 22:59PM
    Tried butter chicken, without adding butter.. It turned out great.. Thanks..
 
Reply :-
    thanks remya.

Comment by neetu singh‏ on 03 February 2009 04:30AM
    thanx a lot...it was a great recipe till now i 've tried for butter chicken....my hubby & my 2 yr. old kid also liked it.....
 
Reply :-
            thats nice to hear. do try the other recipes too.

Comment by Nandhini on Thu 5/01/08 2:47 PM      
Great butter chicken recipe       
    Hi Dahlia, You butter chicken is undoubtedbly the best one I ever tried. Can you add a recipe for chicken dopiaza? I tried one from a cook book last night and it wasn't very good.
 
Reply : -
    Thanks nandhini. will surely add the recipe soon.

Comment by Dafni on Wed 02/27/2008 at 2:58 pm
    butter chicken
    hai,i tried ur butter chicken and peas rice .it came well.
 
Reply :-
    Good to hear that. do try the other recipes too.

 Published by on and last updated on 2017-08-06.