Butter Chicken

It never ceased to amaze me how almost difficult it is to cheat our senses. Let me explain, when I eat a curry house, I am always torn between two dishes which on the surface, look really different: Chicken Murgh Makhani -also called Butter Chicken- and Tandoori Chicken. Invariably, I pick the tandoori dish only because it is lower in fat.

Are you ready for the wow moment, in the course of researching this post, I  found that in fact, they are closely related. Take a look at this snippet from Wikipedia:

'It is thought that Butter Chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi Eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted "some" Chicken dish. The chef had only half of a Tandoori Chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato and garam masalas to come up with the earliest version of "Butter Chicken". He later improvised to make this a regular feature of the menu.'

Conclusion, Once more senses could not be cheated.

This dish is one of the most popular Indian dish outside India. To do it justice, I have used the set of spices which I lucky to win on Fabulicious Food, Ren Behan's fresh and seasonal blog. Butter Chicken needs to marinate in the fridge overnight which in my books makes it perfect for week-ends.

Chicken Murgh Makhani
Ground spices
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fennel
whole spices
2 bay leaves
2  cloves

1/4 pint/150ml natural yogurt
2 ounces/50g ground almonds
2cm ginger 
2 garlic cloves
14 ounce/400g can tomatoes
1 pounds/500 g chicken, skinned, boned and cubed
2 1/2 ounces/60g of ghee or 2 ounces/50g butter
1 tbsp corn oil
1 medium onions, sliced
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
4 tbsp cream or 150 ml milk
salt and pepper

  1. Make a paste in the blender with  yogurt, ground almonds, all the ground spices, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and salt pepper
  2. Put the chicken into a large mixing bowl and pour over the mixture.
  3. Cover and leave it in the fridge over night
  4. Melt together the butter and oil in a  wok or frying pan. Add the onion, fry for about 5 minutes. Add the marinated chicken with all the mixture and cook for a further 20 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat and cook for a further 20 minutes  stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour over the cream or the milk and stir in well. Bring to the boil.
Could be garnished with fresh coriander.


Corina said...

I've never made or eaten a butter chicken dish before - I think it's the fact that it has 'butter' in the name. I imagine it to be really greasy. Yours sounds gorgeous though so I'm thinking I should try it.

Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

Oh I so agree, if anything reduce the almond content. It is so delicious, it is worth the "risk"

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

It does sound delicious.

I frequently freeze in the marinade, but suspect it would not work here with the yogurt - although you could probably use buttermilk?

Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

Hi Helen, thanks for dropping by. I think you are right I would not attempt to freeze, it might keep long enough in the fridge though like what pesto does.

Amanda said...

I'm quite chilli-phobic, which makes butter chicken perfect for me. A lovely recipe, thanks.

Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

Hi Amanda,

I picked this recipe in previous of friends' visit. I wanted to find a Indian recipe that we could all enjoy. She doesn't use chilli powder unless it has been opened for minimum 3 years and most of the hoomph gone.
See you soon on Pebble Soup



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