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.
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