Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani as its known in north India, is a smoother, thicker, almost indulgent version of chicken curry. It’s divine. Sadly, in our experience, it’s hard to find the ‘real deal’ outside of India as many restaurants tend to water down the spices, or drown them in cream to cater to a wider palate. Such a shame as many people are loving spicier food these days.
So, we decided to try to recreate the dish on our own. We tried so many different versions from so many recipes, but while they all are extremely delicious, we also found they take too long as most call for marinating the chicken first and then grilling before adding to the sauce. Great, but we like fast better. Some, such as this great recipe by Edible Garden, didn’t require marinading the meat, but we made it our mission to create an even speedier version.
So we took notes, experimented and finally came up with this gem of a recipe that’s quick, yet the end result is every bit as buttery and flavourful as we would like.
- Half chicken, chopped
- 2 onions, quartered
- 3 large garlic cloves, rough chopped
- Thumb-size ginger, rough chopped
- 1 large red chili, rough chopped
- 1 large red chili, sliced
- 1 cup whole milk,
- 1/4 cup tomato puree
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves, soaked and drained
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp chili powder (more if you like more heat)
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1/4 cup cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spring onions for garnish, chopped
- Blend the onion, ginger, garlic and chopped chili, adding just a touch of water to aid in the blending, if needed.
- Heat ghee/butter in a pan over medium heat and sauté most of the sliced red chilies for a couple of minutes, reserving the rest for garnish.
- Add the onion blend and continue to cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Sprinkle in salt, pepper, turmeric, chili, coriander and garam masala powders. Stir and cook for a further minute.
- Add the tomato puree and tomato paste, mix again and simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes until the liquid has thickened slightly, before throwing in the dried fenugreek leaves.
- Include the chicken pieces, pour in the milk and stir until all the pieces are well coated in the spice mixture. You can add a bit of water if you'd like the end result to have more gravy.
- Cook for about 15 minutes, until the meat is cooked and gravy has thickened to the desired consistency.
- Add the cream, taste and adjust seasoning accordingly and take the pan off the heat.
- Garnish the chicken with the spring onions and reserved red chili slices before serving.
We use chicken with the bones in, as Darsh loves to chew on the bones (don’t ask), but you can always substitute that with boneless meat. You can also fry the chicken for a few minutes in the beginning to give them some colour.
For vegetarians, try replacing the chicken with paneer cubes.