Lusciously Creamy Butter Chicken


Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani, is a popular dish in Indian Restaurant. This dish with succulent Tandoori Spiced Chicken soaked in this creamy, butter tomato base spiced gravy – slightly sweet, tangy, spicy~ its super delicious.

This is one of my favourite Indian dish and the best I’ve tried is in Zaffron – an indian restaurant in Singapore, opened by Chinese! To ensure that my recipe is a keeper, I want my butter chicken to be as good as the best butter chicken I have tried, if not, better. I have tried 1 recipe earlier (from a Michelin starred chef) and the result was disappointing. It’s nice but still missed some notes. I continued my hunt and finally I found this – Singla Anupy “Indian for everyone: The Home Cook’s Guide to Traditional Favourite”. The flavour of Singla’s recipe is close but still missing some taste of Zaffron’s Butter Chicken. And lucky my memory and taste bud did not fail me! I added some ingredients which I think will enhance the taste of the butter gravy and its perfect! Not only the gravy is heavenly, even the chicken is well marinated and it just taste good on its own. You can have 2 ways of eating for this recipe – half the grilled chicken to stir in with the gravy and the other half to serve as grilled chicken on its own. You can also use the marinade for this chicken on chicken wings and grilled it. The yogurt used in this recipe makes the chicken soooooooo tender!

I also tweaked the original recipe slightly…. hmm actually quite a lot. Personally, I do not like to have to many steps in a recipe and I think some of the steps can be combined. With or without the extra steps, the taste will be the same. So why not make it easier.

There are quite a lot of spices required for this recipe – mostly dried spices which can be stored in cool, dry place, in airtight container, for up to 6 months. All spices can be found at the Indian section in supermaket or any Indian specialties stores.

Also, the recipe for Tandoori Masala yields about 1 cup and this recipe only require 1/2 tablespoon. You can either reduce the portion for the tandoori masala spice or let the portion remains – the unused can be use to make tandoori chicken or as dry rub in meats, fish or even seasoning for fries.

Lusciously Creamy Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 2 to 3 pax
Tandoori Masala Spice (yield 1 cup - remaining can be store in airtight container in a cool and dry place for up to 6 months)
  • 20g whole dried red chiles
  • 20g coriander seeds
  • 25g cumin seeds
  • 15g whole black peppercorn
  • 10g whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon green cardamon pods
  • ½ tablespoon ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 25g paprika
Marinade for Chicken
  • 1 5-cm ginger (peeled)
  • 5 cloves garlic (peeled) or 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 235 ml plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • ½ tablespoon Tandoori Masala (from the above recipe or can opt for store-bought version)
  • 1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 5g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 400g boneless chicken legs (2 pieces), cut into big cubes
Butter Gravy
  • 35g walnuts or cashews
  • 1 medium yellow onions, cut into quarter
  • 1 5-cm ginger, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic (peeled) or 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 150ml canned tomato puree
  • 2 pieces bird eye chiles
  • 20g butter + 30g butter (to add into the gravy after the heat is turned off)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 black cardamom pod
  • 2 green cardamom pod
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2.5g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 150ml heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
Naans, roti or prata to dip with gravy
Tandoori Masala
  1. Grind all the ingredients in a blender/grinder for dry ingredients
  2. *this recipe will yield 1 cup of tandoori masala but only require ½ tablespoon. The rest can be store in airtight container in a cool and dry place for up to 6 months)
Marinade for Chicken
  1. Grind the ginger and garlic in a blender/grinder until smooth paste
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add in the garlic-ginger paste, yogurt, tandoori masala, amchur, black pepper, salt, kasoori methi and lemon juice. Whisk until well combined and add in the chicken.
  3. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, or overnight
  4. Before grilling the chicken, preheat the broiler/oven at 250 degree celcius for about 10 mins
  5. Place the chicken in the broiler/oven and grill for about 10 - 15 mins, or until cooked and slightly charred.
Butter Gravy
  1. Add all the ingredients for the gravy (except for salt, cream, sugar and 30g butter) into a blender and blend until it forms a very thick paste.
  2. Melt 20g butter in a heated pot over medium heat.
  3. Add in the blended paste into the pot after the butter melted and fry till fragrance
  4. Add in cream, salt, sugar and bring to boil.
  5. Turn off the heat, and stir in the remaining 30g of butter.
  6. Add in grilled chicken, stir and transfer to a serving plate (*optional - stir in half of the grilled chicken into gravy as butter chicken and the other half to serve as grilled chicken on its own)
  7. Serve hot with naan, roti, prata or rice.

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