Indian food is known for its fragrant and spicy food, filled with an abundance of spices like cumin, cardamom, coriander, turmeric and more. 

Butter Chicken fits this profile perfectly.

Known in India as Murgh Makhani, the dish truly combines an array of tasteful flavors to create a mouthwatering meal.

So, when did Murgh Makhani come about? 

The dish was created in 1947 at Moti Mahal, a restaurant in Delhi, India — but the dish was actually made by accident through the combination of a creamy tomato sauce mixed with butter and cream; later, it became an official recipe when it was published in 1974, and was brought to America in 1975 under the name “Butter Chicken.” 

What makes Butter Chicken so creamy and delicious, you ask? 

The combination of marinating your chicken for hours in a scrumptious yogurt marinade and stewing it in a creamy, spice-filled sauce does the trick. And you can’t forget the fresh cilantro at the end to top it all off. 

So, today, I’m going to tell you how to make your own Butter Chicken so that you too can experience the many flavors of India. 

How to Prepare the Chicken:

1. Dice chicken into small cubes.

2. Add yogurt, minced garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, ground cumin, chili powder, salt and mix.

3. Marinate for 30 minutes or overnight.

Making the Sauce: 

1. Heat butter or ghee in the pan. Fry the onions until they start to sweat (about 6 minutes). 

2.Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then, add ground coriander, cumin and garam masala. Let cook for about 20 seconds until fragrant, while stirring occasionally.

3. Add crushed tomatoes, chili powder and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and becomes a deep brown red colour. Remove from heat.

4. Scoop mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.

5. Pour the puréed sauce back into the pan. Stir in the cream, sugar and crushed kasoori methi (or fenugreek leaves).

How to Make Butter Chicken:

1. Once your sauce is complete, add chicken back to the pan. Stir.

2. Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat.

4. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.


For the Chicken:

  • 28 oz (800g) boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (or finely grated)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

For the Sauce: 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or 1 tbs butter + 1 tbs oil)
  • 1 large onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or finely grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 14 oz (400 g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your taste preference)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup of heavy or thickened cream (or evaporated milk to save calories)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kasoori methi (or dried fenugreek leaves)

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