Butter Chicken


Butter chicken or murg makhani is an Indian dish that has gained popularity world wide over the years. The dish has its roots in Delhi ,India.The dish was developed by three partners at their restaurant in Delhi in 1950s .The three partners were Kundan Lal Gujral,kundan Lal Jaggi and Thakur Das,all Punjabi Hindus.The dish was created by chance when the left over tandoori chicken was mixed in a tomato gravy ,rich in butter and cream.Therefore the authentic butter chicken gravy recipe calls for roasted chicken  cooked in traditional tandoors which actually  imparts a nice smoky flavor to the gravy.Though pan fried or grilled  chicken can also be used .The beauty of the dish lies in its subtle balance of flavors .The gravy is smooth and velvety with a delicate balance of sweet ,salty and tanginess.The dish is easy to cook and can be the highlight of any party menu .I love to cook this quiet often and whenever I am also left with roasted chicken ,I convert it into butter chicken. Sometimes due to time crunch I skip roasting or grilling the chicken and order it from outside and prepare the gravy at home.The recipe that I made and am going to share below got a helping hand from my husband in roasting the chicken from scratch,right from marination till roasting.


Serves : 4

For the roasted chicken

Ingredients for first marination:

  • chicken(I have used 6 whole chicken leg pieces i.e. combination of drumstick and thigh which are cut into 2 each after roasting)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Ingredients for second marination:

  • 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste(1:1 ratio)
  • 1/2 cup hung curd
  • 1/2 tsp spice powder(4 green cardamom,1 blade of mace,1/2 nutmeg,1″cinnamon,4-5 black pepper corn and 1 tsp cumin all ground together)
  • Yellow or orange food colour(optional)


  • Make slant slits on the chicken pieces .
  • Mix all the ingredients of the first marinate and gently rub it on the chicken pieces.img_20180406_111032394_ll1914343183.jpg
  • Cover it with a cling foil and keep it in the refrigerator for minimum 1/2 an hour.
  • Mix all the ingredients of the second marinate and and apply it on the chicken and leave it in the refrigerator till you want to roast.img_20180406_111507629_ll1539004346.jpg
  • Take it out from the refrigerator  at least 1/2 -1 hour before roasting so as to allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Heat the gas tandoor .Roast the chicken basting it in between with butter /ghee and pouring leftover marinate till it is nicely done.The process of basting the chicken will impart smoky flavour to the chicken.

For the gravy


  • 2 cups tomato puree( I have used fresh tomatoes which were blanched ,peeled and pureed however ready made puree can also be used.)
  • Whole spices(6 green cardamom,1″cinnamon,7-8 black peppercorns and 3-4 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste( 1:1 ratio)
  • 2-3 green chilies chopped
  • 1 tbsp paprika or Kashmiri red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi lightly toasted in a frying pan(dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1/2 tsp spice powder which was used in the second marination of the chicken
  • 1 tbsp cashew nut paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 50 gm butter(can be increased or decreased)
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee/clarified butter


  • In a skillet heat ghee.Once it is hot add whole spices and let them crackle.
  • Add chopped green chilies fry a bit and add ginger garlic paste.Fry for a minute and then add chili powder.Mix quickly and do not allow it to burn.This follows the addition of puree.Dilute it with 2 cups of water.


  • Add salt and sugar according to the taste.Sugar is generally added to cut down the sourness of the tomatoes as the butter chicken gravy generally tastes salty with a hint of sweetness.
  • Cook the gravy till it slightly thickens about 5 minutes  To this add the roasted chicken and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the cashew paste and mix well.Addition of cashew paste will thicken the gravy hence little water can be added as per the need to adjust the consistency of the gravy.Add the spice powder , butter and kasuri methi and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Switch of the flame and top it with fresh cream mixing it gently and the gravy gets a nice reddish orange hue.img_20180406_195206287_ll~41214258147..jpg
  • Serve it hot along with naan,roomali roti or rice and enjoy the mildly spiced rich and creamy  famous butter chicken.


  • Roasted chicken can be bought and added to the gravy if one dose not have time to roast the chicken.
  • Store bought tomato puree can be used instead of home made depending upon the time.
  • Always lightly roast kasuri methi before adding to the gravy for better flavor.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. mistimaan says:

    Looks tasty


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s