Butter chicken masala recipe | Butter chicken recipe| Chicken makhani recipe | How to make butter chicken


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Butter chicken history

Butter chicken recipe is an Indian chicken curry which originated in North India. It was accidentally invented by using leftover dry chicken tandoori into a curry. Leftover chicken tandoori was simmered in creamy and spiced tomato-based gravy with butter to reuse it. But unexpectedly an outstanding dish got created. Now, this recipe has been adopted by restaurants worldwide.


Who invented butter chicken?

Butter chicken or chicken butter masala was invented in 1948 by chef Kundan Lal Gujral of famous restaurant Moti Mahal in Delhi. He never knew before preparing the dish with leftover chicken tandoori that it would become one of the biggest hit chicken recipes.


What is Butter chicken?

Butter chicken is a is rich, creamy and smooth chicken curry with a ting of sweetness and tanginess. In this preparation, tender and juicy chicken tikkas are simmered in the creamy gravy. It is a mild curry prepared with minimal spices.

In India, Butter chicken masala or butter chicken recipe is also known as murgh makhani or chicken makhani where murgh stands for chicken and makhani means buttery. Many people get confused between Butter chicken and chicken tikka masala. Though both the preparations are quite alike but both the dishes taste and flavour different from each other.


Difference between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala

  • Butter chicken was invented in Northern India in 1948 and on the other hand chicken tikka masala was invented in Britain in the 1960s.
  • Butter chicken is creamier and butterier as compared to chicken tikka masala.
  • The intensity of tomato is stronger in Chicken tikka masala as compared to butter chicken.
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Butter chicken - Reason behind its popularity

  • Butter chicken has occupied place in the Menu card of almost all the Non-vegetarian Indian restaurants in India and foreign as well.
  • Any marriage, anniversary or birthday party is incomplete without butter chicken in north India. Now, it has become a part of any celebration.
  • Butter chicken is known for its inimitable taste and unique flavour. The mild gravy with sweet and tangy taste has won the hearts of millions all around the world.
  • It is one of the most versatile dishes which can be accompanied with any rice items or flat breads.
  • It is a simple dish and is very easy to prepare.

Butter chicken masala recipe or butter chicken recipe is one of my most favourite chicken curries which I can’t stop myself to devour till my stomach is tightly packed. In fact, I never met any non-vegetarian person in my entire life who does not like Chicken makhani.

Butter chicken masala or butter chicken is my family’s favourite dish and since my childhood I can’t remember any special occasion of our family without Butter chicken. Whenever we go to any Indian restaurant, after a long conversation before ordering, we always end up ordering butter chicken and butter naan as primary part of the main course.

But honestly speaking, we always used to have Butter chicken masala or butter chicken in restaurants or else by ordering the dish from caterers on special occasions. We never tried this masterpiece at our kitchen before this lockdown period.

After coming in London, we have realized that butter chicken or chicken butter masala is equally popular here as India. In fact, in most of the supermarkets, you will get Butter chicken in either readymade food section or in the frozen section.

But I always prefer freshly cooked Butter chicken over frozen ones because according to me, any food tastes and flavours best when it is freshly cooked. For butter chicken, I am quite nostalgic and can’t compromise on any factor.
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My husband is a brilliant cook and chicken curries are his forte. At the initial stage of lockdown, when we all were feeling low due to COVID 19 and unable to go to any restaurants, he prepared Butter chicken and pulao at home to cheer us up. I must say that was a brilliant hack to put smile on someone’s face.

I got the recipe from my husband and now Butter chicken has become a regular part of our feast without making any trip to the restaurants and take away service. After preparing this scrumptious dish, I have realized that it’s much easier to cook as compared to my imagination.

Butter chicken masala recipe or butter chicken recipe is very simple and easy to make. The difficulty level of cooking this recipe is moderate for beginners. It is cooked in two parts. First the chicken pieces are cooked as tikkas in tawa or tandoor and on the other hand, buttery tomato gravy is prepared in another pan.

Butter chicken masala recipe is a very mild curry as compared to other Indian chicken curries. Indians are known for using different spices to make food flavourful, but Butter chicken is an exception. It requires minimal spices to get prepared.

The butter chicken masala recipe or butter chicken recipe that I have shared today is completely restaurant style with all the tricks and hacks to get rich, creamier and velvety smooth texture.


Advantages to prepare Butter chicken at home

There is no doubt in it that Butter chicken is a rich dish and it has become a part of the dinner menu of special occasions. But if you prepare this scrumptious dish at home then you will have the full control to make it less rich.

You can also manipulate the amount of butter, cream and cashew nuts according to your choice without compromising the taste of Butter chicken masala.

Butter chicken recipe with step by step photos and instructions have been provided in the ‘Instructions’ section of the recipe. If you follow the recipe step by step, then you will surely get the restaurant style butter chicken masala.


Tips to prepare perfect restaurant style butter chicken

  • Always go for double marinate process to get tender and juicy chicken tikkas.
    • First, marinate the chicken with lemon juice, salt and ginger garlic paste for 20 minutes and then go for the second marinate process. This step helps the chicken pieces to soak the salt from inside.
    • On the next process, marinate the chicken in yogurt, chilli powder, oil, garam masala powder and cumin powder for at least for 12 hours to overnight for best result. It will provide you tender and juicy chicken tikkas.
  • Always sieve the tomato masala after grinding to get smooth velvety restaurant like gravy texture.
  • Don’t skip kasuri methi (Dried fenugreek leaves) into the curry. It will give the exact restaurant like flavour to the dish.
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How to make butter chicken?

To prepare butter chicken recipe, I have used 500 grams boneless, skin off chicken thigh pieces. First, I have washed and cleaned the pieces and squeezed off the excess water from the pieces to get it ready for first marination.

For the butter chicken recipe, I have marinated the chicken pieces with salt, lemon juice and ginger garlic paste for 20 minutes.

Then I have started preparing the second marinate process in a different mixing bowl. In that bowl, I have added yogurt, mustard oil, chilli powder, salt, garam masala powder, cumin powder and mixed all the ingredients nicely before adding the chicken pieces into it. You can use any other edible oil too instead of mustard oil, but I always prefer mustard oil for the recipe.

I have squeezed the excess moisture from the chicken and added into the spicy yogurt sauce for second marination. For best result, it’s better to marinate the chicken for at least 12 hours to overnight.

On the other hand, to prepare the gravy, add little butter into the pan and add the whole spices - cloves, cardamom and cinnamon sticks. Then add garlic, ginger, onion and tomatoes one by one into the pan and cook for couple of minutes. To make the gravy rich, I have added cashews and almonds into it. I have added little bit of chilli powder into the masala for better colour. Then I have added water into the pan and put on the lid. Cook the masala till tomatoes and onions are tender. Then switch off the flame and put the pan down for 10-15 minutes to cool off the masala before grinding.

Transfer the masala into the jar of a grinder and grind it till smooth. For extra smooth restaurant like gravy, sieve the masala before preparing the gravy.

For the chicken tikka, take a wide heavy bottom pan. I personally prefer non-stick pans for preparing chicken tikkas for the butter chicken masala recipe. Then I have added oil into the pan and waited for the oil to become hot before adding the marinated chicken pieces into it.

Add chicken pieces into the pan. Make sure that there is enough space between the pieces. Fry the tikkas in high flame and turn them once the bottom side is almost done. Don’t flip the pieces repeatedly or else your tikkas will not get cooked nicely. Fry the tikkas in batches and keep them aside.

For the butter chicken gravy, I have added butter into the pan and then added little bit of ginger garlic paste and cooked it for a minute and then added the sieved tomato masala into the pan. Then I have added sugar, chilli powder and adjusted the seasoning of the gravy.

The butter chicken gravy is rich, thick and creamy. So, I have added moderate amount of water for the gravy. When the gravy simmers, I have added the chicken tikkas into the pan and cooked in low flame for some time.

At the final stage of cooking, I have added fresh cream into the Butter chicken recipe. It is one of the most essential ingredients for the chicken butter masala recipe. It balances the tanginess of tomatoes and gives a bit of sweetness to the gravy with extra creamy texture.

For the flavouring of the gravy, I have added garam masala powder and kasuri methi into the gravy.

Many Indian chicken curry have already been shared in my previous posts. You can check few of them like


..And Many more…
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Ingredients:

To first-marinate chicken
  • 500 grams Chicken thighs, boneless and skin off
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger-Garlic paste
  • ½ Lemon or 1 tablespoon Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

To second-marinate chicken
  • 2 tablespoons Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Mustard oil
  • 1 teaspoon red Chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt

For the masala paste
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped Ginger or 1-inch Ginger diced
  • 6 tomatoes, diced and deseeded
  • 1 tablespoon Almond
  • 1 tablespoon Cashew
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3 Cardamoms
  • inch Cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 teaspoon Red chilli powder
  • 1/3 cup of Water

Other ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons Butter, for the gravy
  • ½ teaspoon red Chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kasuri methi (Dried Fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon Garam masala powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons full Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup Water for gravy
  • 3-4 tablespoons oil, to fry the tikkas


Instructions:
  1. Wash and clean the chicken pieces and keep them in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, lemon juice of a half lemon one by one into the bowl.


  3. Mix all the ingredients evenly and marinate the chicken for 20 minutes. Cover the bowl and keep it aside.
  4. For the second marination, add 2 tablespoons yogurt, 1 tablespoon mustard oil, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder into a bowl and mix all the ingredients thoroughly.






  5. Add the chicken pieces (Step 3) into the yogurt mixture and mix them evenly.
  6. Cover the marinated chicken and refrigerate it for at least 12 hours to overnight.
  7. Next day, take a wide heavy bottom skillet and put on flame.
  8. Add enough oil into the pan to fry the tikkas and put the flame in high.
  9. Add the overnight marinated chicken pieces (Step 6) into the pan and fry them in high flame. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Keep space between two pieces.
  10. Cook them on high flame for 2-3 minutes until the bottom side is done.
  11. Flip the chicken pieces and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes until black spots occur on the pieces.

    Note: Don’t flip the chicken pieces for multiple times in between or else the tikkas will not get cooked properly.
  12. Transfer the tikkas on a tissue lined plate and keep it aside.
  13. On the other hand, take a pan on flame and let it become dry.
  14. Add butter into the pan and allow it to bubble.
  15. Add 3 cardamoms, 3 cloves and a 1-inch cinnamon stick into the pan and allow it to crackle.
  16. Add chopped garlic into the pan and cook for few seconds.
  17. Add chopped ginger into the pan and give a nice stir.
  18. Add diced onions into the pan and cook it for a minute in high flame. Stir in between.
  19. Add diced tomatoes into the pan and mix it nicely.
  20. Add 1 tablespoon cashew, 1 tablespoon almond one by one into the pan and give a mix.

  21. Add red chilli powder into the pan and mix it.
  22. Cover the pan and cook it for a minute in medium flame.
  23. Add 1/3 cup of water into the pan and give a stir.
  24. Cover the pan and cook it in low flame for 10 minutes until the tomatoes and onions get tender.
  25. Put the pan down and take off the lid. Allow it to cool down for 10-15 minutes.
  26. Transfer the content into the medium jar of a mixer grinder and close its lid.
  27. Run the mixer grinder for 1-2 minutes to prepare a smooth paste.
  28. Sieve the masala with the help of a wired sieve and keep the masala aside.

    Note: This step is important to get extra smooth restaurant like butter chicken gravy.
  29. In another pan, add 2 tablespoons butter and allow it to bubble.
  30. Pour the sieved masala (Step 28) into the pan and give a nice stir.
  31. Add salt, sugar, red chilli powder into the pan and mix it nicely.


  32. Cover the masala and cook it in low flame for couple of minutes. Stir in between if required.
  33. Add 1 teaspoon Kasuri methi (Dried Fenugreek leaves) into the pan and mix it nicely.
  34. Add 1 cup water into the pan and give a nice mix.
  35. Put the flame in high and cover the pan until the gravy simmers.
  36. Put the flame in low and add the chicken tikkas (Step 12) into the gravy.
  37. Cover the pan and cook it in low flame for 5 minutes.
  38. Add 1 teaspoon garam masala powder into the pan and give a nice mix.
  39. Add 2-3 tablespoons fresh cream into the pan and mix it.
  40. Switch off the flame and put the pan down.


Serving Instruction
Transfer the Butter chicken masala into a serving bowl or on a serving plate. Garnish it with some fresh cream and chopped cilantros. Always serve the Butter chicken hot or warm to enjoy its best taste. Pair up the succulent Indian chicken curry with any of your favourite Rice item or flat bread like naan and enjoy the incredible Indian delicacy.

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