Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani
Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani is the iconic chicken recipes of the north. It is rich, buttery and lip-smacking. Try out this easy recipe of mine and you won’t stop licking your fingers. Butter Chicken is famous not only in India but globally. If you haven’t tasted it till now then you really are missing out on the best.
Not very spicy, Butter Chicken is comparatively mild, chicken pieces are marinated in yoghurt and spices and grilled on the tandoor. Tangy tomato gravy is made and the chicken pieces are then plunged into it to create a creamy, smooth and buttery chicken recipe.
Recipe Curated by KL Gujral
This classic dish was created by KL Gujral of Moti Mahal Restaurant, Delhi. My husband was a die-hard fan and never tired of eating it. One day he had leftover tandoori chicken pieces and didn’t want to waste them and that’s when he made the tomato gravy and had the tandoori pieces swimming in it.
For this Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani, you have to make Tandoori chicken and then the Butter Chicken Gravy. I have found an easier way to do this. I first marinate the chicken and roast it in a pan instead of grilling it and then give it the Dhungar treatment.
If you are on a Keto diet then try this Keto Butter chicken or authentic Tandoori Chicken and for melt in the mouth Kebabs try this Murgh Malai Kebab
The Dhungar Method
We in India have grown up with our food being grilled on charcoal grills and we all love that typical rustic aroma. This method of cooking is cumbersome these days but you can smoke your veggies and meats in the Dhungar way.
Dhungar is an age-old smoking technique. To dhungar a food item, light charcoal on your gas flame until it is smouldering red. Place it in a steel bowl and put it in the cooking vessel. Pour ghee or butter on it. Once it starts to smoke, cover with a lid. The smoke will be trapped. Leave it for about 10 minutes and the smoke will permeate the dish. You can add herbs of your choice to the smoking charcoal and the flavour will spread to the dish. Use only natural charcoal, do not use any processed charcoal as it may contain chemicals which might expose your food-to-be-smoked to hazardous fumes.
Ingredients for Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani
For the marinade
1 kg Chicken
1 cup of thick yoghurt
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp Lime juice
2’ stick cinnamon
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp Chilli powder
For the Sauce
1 kg tomatoes
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp white pepper
100 gms butter
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
Food colour optional
Clean, dry and marinate the chicken in the yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, lime juice, powdered spices for 6 hours or overnight.
Grill the chicken in the oven or you can even sauté it on high flame in a Kadai, as I did
To make the sauce
Boil the tomatoes with spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and pepper. Once boiled, discard the spices and blitz in the blender to make a smooth puree.
Add the whole spices, fry the ginger garlic paste in butter and add the pureed tomatoes.
Furthermore, add the salt, sugar and pepper. The sugar will balance the tartness of the tomatoes. Add a little garam masala powder if you want to.
Pour the cream and give a gentle mix
Add the crushed Kasuri methi for that final punch of flavour.
In a serving bowl place the grilled chicken and pour the sauce on top or you can even cook the chicken for a couple of minutes in the sauce.
Garnish the Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani with fried cashews and coriander. Serve with Tandoori naan, Lachha Paratha or Indian bread of your choice. Check how to make Laccha Parathas here
- For the Marinade:
- 1 kg chicken
- 1 cup of thick yoghurt
- 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 inch stick cinnamon
- 8 cloves
- 8 cardamoms
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp Chilli powder
- For the Sauce
- 1 kg Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp cream
- 1 tbsp white pepper
- 1.4 kg butter or half oil
- 1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- kasuri methi
- food colour-Optional
- Clean, dry and marinate the chicken in the yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, lime juice, powdered spices for 6 hours or overnight.
- Grill the chicken in the oven or you can even sauté it on high flame in a Kadai, as I did
- To make the sauce
- Boil the tomatoes with spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and pepper. Once boiled, discard the spices and blitz in the blender to make a smooth puree.
- Add the whole spices, fry the ginger garlic paste in butter and add the pureed tomatoes.
- Furthermore, add the salt, sugar and pepper. The sugar will balance the tartness of the tomatoes. Add a little garam masala powder if you want to.
- Add the cream and give a gentle mix.
- Add the crushed Kasuri methi for that final punch of flavour.
- In a serving bowl place the grilled chicken and pour the sauce on top or you can even cook the chicken for a couple of minutes in the sauce.
- Garnish the Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani with fried cashews and coriander.
- You can make tandoori chicken and then make butter chicken with leftovers.
- Add cashew paste for a richer gravy.
- Add more cream if you are not counting calories.
Your every dish is lip smacking and this one is no exception. Indeed Butter Chicken is an iconic dish down north and perhaps the most popular one too. Was nice to read about how the dish originated. Had it not been for your post, i wouldn’t have known that its an out and out indian dish 🙂
I love the way you explain each recipe in detail Harjeet. It’s really nice to read about your own experiences behind every dish that you make. Butter chicken and butter nan are one of my favourite foods too!
Thank u so much Narinder…love the way u appreciate my recipes 🙂 Keep them coming
An innovative new method for making an age-old favourite dish. Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Thanks Noor..it is my pleasure entirely.
Thank you for sharing the recipe for one of my most favourite dishes. It’s very difficult to find a great tasting butter chicken and your recipe sounds delicious. Must try this one soon
I really admire your presentation style of recipes. you always shared great quality videos, photos, recipe boxes and detail step step by step method. hats off to this perfection. I am a vegetarian, so..but seems like a great recipe for non vegetarians.
My hubby is a hardcore non- vegetarian and would love to try this recipe out.
Though I am a pure vegetarian, but your food dishes pictures and recipes always look so yummy. I am going to share this with my friends, I am sure they would love to try this recipe
My mouth is drooling over this recipe Harjeet! Can’t wait to try it out! Yum! Your recipes are so nice and you make it sound simple.
Attractive and adds a rush to eat it immediately send a parcel 😊next time with a post. great read
I am drooling over your scrumptious recipes Harjeet ji🙏, I am sure Your creative tadka alwayz raises the taste of your dishes.😄best part is Dhungar method, I saved your way of dhungar method for my next camping program with my friends.