Indian Butter Chicken


I just love Indian food. The spices, the aroma, the creaminess of a good curry, always tickle my taste buds for more. Butter chicken is heaven on a plate. Chicken marinated with yogurt, lemon and spices, then cooked in butter and finished with cream. What’s not to like about that. Actually, although the name of the dish implies otherwise, the quantity of butter used is not sinful. Ok, I admit, it’s not for the figure conscious, but a normal portion of this won’t tip your scale either. And it’s so worth trying. Really.

Ingredients for the marinade

  • 1 ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 Tbs garam masala
  • 2 Tbs ground cumin
  • 2 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half (you can, of course, use other parts of the chicken like breast meat. A combination of thighs and breast would be best).

For cooking the butter chicken

  • 125 grams unsalted butter or ghee (see note)
  • 1 Tbs sunflower oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 x 5cm pieces fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbs cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 red chillies, without seeds, chopped
  • ½ cup crushed tomatoes (from a carton or can)
  • ½ cup chicken broth (or one chicken stock cube dissolved in half a cup boiling water)
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cup cream
  • 4 Tbs ground almonds

Naan bread and basmati rice to serve


Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Cover bowl and leave chicken in the fridge to marinate, at least two hours, preferably overnight. Take it out of the fridge one hour before cooking.

In a large pot melt butter with the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook stirring for about 5 minutes, until onion is soft. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon and cook for another minute. Add the chilies and tomatoes and stir to mix. Add all the chicken with it’s marinade. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring often, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth and tomato paste and mix through. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the cream and almonds cook for 10 minutes longer.

Serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

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