I used to be fairly intimidated by making Indian food, but a couple of years ago I decided to give it a try and I have not looked back since. The ingredient list for this recipe may be long, but I promise the work to payoff is well worth it. After I tried a number of different butter chicken recipes; I finally felt more comfortable making it myself. Normally I measure most spices with my heart, so bear this in mind when cooking most of my recipes, as this one is no exception. So what is Butter Chicken? It is also commonly referred to as Murgh Makhani and originates from India. It is one of the most popular dishes ordered when visiting an Indian restaurant and is known for its silky, creamy, and flavorful sauce. One of the most crucial steps is to let the chicken marinate so it can absorb the incredible flavor and tenderize. There are many variations of butter chicken but this is one that I made by taking inspiration from countless youtube tutorials and recipes. Don't forget to pair this butter chicken with some fresh basmati rice and garlic naan. Enjoy!
1 pound skinless & boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1.5 inch pieces (or use bone-in chicken)
1 tablespoon Oil
For Marinade #1
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
For Marinade #2
1/2 cup full-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon Garlic Paste
1 tablespoon Ginger Paste
1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
1 tablespoon Kashmiri Chilli Powder or 1/2 tbsp paprika & 1/2 tbsp cayenne
1 tablespoon coriander Powder
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
For the Sauce
1 tablespoon Oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 thumb finely grated (peeled) ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 onion, roughly chopped
7 - 8 fresh tomatoes roughly chopped or 1 (15-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup cashew nuts
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
fresh cilantro for garnish
Take the chicken and marinate in marinade #1 ingredients for 15 to 30 mins then marinade #2 for an hour or preferably overnight.
Heat oil in a frying pan and place the marinated chicken in a single layer with enough space between them. Fry on high heat for 5 mins or until the chicken is charred. Flip chicken over and cook the other side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add chopped onion and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add 2 tablespoons butter.
Add in ginger garlic paste (or grated garlic & ginger) and let saute for a minute.
Add in chili powder, garam masala, salt, sugar, and cook for 30 seconds.
Add in the chopped tomatoes, cashews, and 1-2 cups water. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Transfer sauce to a blender or preferably use a hand blender in a large bowl and puree until smooth.
Use a sifter to separate the tomato skin and seeds from the sauce to ensure the gravy is ultra-smooth.
Add in grilled chicken pieces and two tablespoons butter and mix well. Cook on a low heat for 15 to 20 mins until the chicken is tender.
Once the chicken is cooked, add in the cream. Simmer for another minute.
Switch off the flame and add chopped cilantro for garnish.
If you cannot find prepackaged garlic and ginger paste you can just finely grate fresh peeled ginger and garlic.
If you choose to use canned tomatoes 🍅 instead of fresh, you will likely not need to sift the pureed tomato sauce into the pan
If you enjoy your food spicier 🥵 just add more chili powder