Firslty, Butter chicken or Murgh Makhani has to be the most popular and palateble curry in the world. It’s so easy to make and it just packs flavour. Ingredients are not hard to come by and can be replaced where dietry requirements are needed. The best thing about this curry is the heat, it’s so mild your friends with soft tongues will still appreciate the depth of flavour without getting hot under the collar.
You do not need to be a chef to make butter chicken. It’s simple steps and large flavours make it the perfect dish to serve up for anybody. The perfect balance between heat, sweetness and a little bit of acidity with a dash of freshness. Pair it with some Naan or my perfect Basmati Rice and you are good. My kids are the fussiest eaters you will meet and even they can’t deny butter chicken. It has to be one of my all time favourites!
As I said at the top, ingredients are super easy to find and wont break the bank. If you do a lot of cooking most of the spices will already be in your cupboard. But the main things you will need for butter chicken are:
Chicken Thigh – Why chicken thigh? It will hold up the best for slow cooking and wont fall apart or go as dry as chicken breast or tenderloin. It also has more flavour due to the fat content. If you don’t like fatty cuts then use chicken breast just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t disintegrate and become chicken soup.
Full Cream – Cream is added to give that creamy texture and also adds a sweetness to the dish. Only added at the end so it doesn’t split
Butter or Ghee – Most people will just use butter as it’s more than likely sitting in your fridge readily available. Ghee is just a clarified type of butter. Which also has a higher concentration of fat as it’s milk and solids have been removed.
Plain Yoghurt – This is used to balance out the spices and lighten up your dish. Used in the marinade step and can be added at the end for a bit of freshness.
Most of these will be in your cupboard or pantry already. Garam Masala, Cumin, Ground Coriander, Turmeric, Chilli Powder and a bit of salt an pepper. Chilli is the one that you can leave out if you are sensitive to hot foods. I like to add it a little at a time at the end to get my balance perfect.
How to Make Butter Chicken
1. Marinate Chicken – In a yoghurt and spice mix. You can marinate as small as an hour or I like to prepare it two days ahead and let those flavours really combine.
2. Brown your chicken – Get it nice and crusty and browned on the edges. This is where you get extra flavour. Make sure to do it in small batches so that your chicken does not boil in its own juices. Make sure to scrape up all the goodness into the next batch that has been left behind by the previous lot and then deglaze the pan at the end with your onions and garlic
3. Build your sauce – Sweat your onion and garlic in the butter or ghee in the same pan as your chicken for 5 minutes. Add your spice mix of garam masala, turmeric, ground coriander, cumin and salt. Letting it cook for a few minutes until those smells fill your kitchen around 1 minute.
4. Add Tomato Passata – Simmer until you achieve a deep red colour to your sauce. Add chicken back to the sauce and simmer lightly for a further 20 minutes so that your chicken is cooked through. If you find you have a little too much fat sitting on top here drain it off before adding cream with a spoon or paper towel
5. Finish of with cream – I add the cream very last as it I don’t want my curry to split and you should have a nice golden red brown looking curry.
Side Dishes for Butter Chicken
Naan or Roti: Indian bread such as naan or roti is a classic accompaniment to butter chicken.
Steamed Basmati Rice: A simple bed of steamed Basmati rice is a common side dish for butter chicken. The mild flavor of the rice complements the spiciness of the chicken.
Cucumber Raita: Raita is a yogurt-based side dish that helps cool down the heat of the butter chicken. Cucumber raita with some mint and spices is refreshing.
Pulao: A fragrant rice dish like vegetable pulao or biryani can be an excellent accompaniment. The spices in the pulao can complement the flavours in the butter chicken.
Pickles: Indian pickles, like mango or lime pickle, add a tangy and spicy kick to your meal.
Papad: Crispy papads or papadums are a popular side dish in Indian cuisine.
Chutney: A sweet and tangy chutney, such as mango chutney or tamarind chutney, can balance the richness of the dish.
Saag (Spinach or Mustard Greens): A side of saag, which is a creamy spinach or mustard greens dish, can be a delicious and nutritious addition.
Dahi Puri: If you’re looking for something different, dahi puri, a popular Indian street food, can be a fun and tangy side dish.
Lassi: A glass of chilled mango lassi or plain yogurt lassi can be a refreshing beverage to enjoy with butter chicken.
Butter chicken is a delicious dish. I cooked it now you give it a go. It’s super easy and delicious. If you like this recipe you should check out some of my other additions like Lamb Stew another winter warmer. Additionally check out my facebook page or instagram if you would like top keep up with us on other platforms