Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Here comes my fourth recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #4. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

This recipe has its roots in Delhi, the capital of India. North India is known for it’s lip-smacking food all over the world. Butter chicken, chicken tikka, dal makhani, sarson da saag, makki di roti, chhole, bhature, naan, are among the very few names in the extremely big list of its dishes. My apologies for leaving out some names which might be close to my reader’s hearts.

It might sound funny to see that I am apologizing to my readers here, but being a Punjabi, I know how much “food” means to some of us. LOL!! As soon as we are born, we are loaded with dishes topped with ghee (clarified butter). Also, milk and curd are out diet’s staples. Along with vegetables, pulses and grains are also an important part of the daily diet.

I have grown up with fond memories of this special dish that I am sharing with you all today. When I was little, I still remember that the celebrations in our family were never complete without the Oh-So-Special Butter Chicken. Loaded with fats, the taste of this dish would never go wrong.

I am constantly finding ways to be creative with this dish, thinking about how we can use leftover butter chicken in a different way, other than pairing it up with the usual naan and rice.

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But, trust me, there is no such thing as “Leftover Butter Chicken”. The creamy gravy paired with the succulent chicken pieces is never left for more experimentation. This time also, the complete dish was knocked off in no time with naan and rice. I’ll be probably preparing this dish again in a few days with the experiment I have in my mind.

The main winner in this dish is its rich and creamy sauce, which is prepared with few basic ingredients from the kitchen, which form the basis of many Indian gravies. Those are ginger, garlic, green chilies, onion and tomato. These are used to prepare a sauce which is flavored with some spices, and then loaded with the fats (butter and cream) which make the gravy what it is, thick, creamy and delicious. The final result is a rich, velvety blend of melt in mouth flavors.

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There is a version of the recipe which can be prepared by marinating the boneless chicken breast pieces. Chicken thigh pieces can also be used, but mostly it is everyone’s personal preference. I prefer to use the breast pieces for this recipe. The marination is prepared with yogurt, ginger garlic paste and other spices. Chicken pieces are coated with the marinade, and kept aside for few hours, or sometimes, even overnight. But I generally prefer to prepare the version without the chicken marination. Marination definitely imparts additional flavor to the chicken pieces, but this version also works well. It is quicker to prepare, and no less than the marination version. Also, some people prefer to use Ghee (Clarified Butter) to saute onions etc, but I have used Avocado Oil in this recipe. Please feel free to use ghee in place of oil if you want.

So, without wasting more time, let’s jump straight to the recipe. Happy cooking!!

Butter Chicken Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print
Butter Chicken…

Ingredients

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast (chopped into bite-sized pieces) ~ 500 grams
  • Onions (cut roughly into big pieces) ~ 2-3 (medium)
  • Tomatoes (cut roughly into big pieces) ~ 4-5 (medium)
  • Ginger (cut roughly into one inch pieces) – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic ~ 5-6 big cloves
  • Green chilies ~ 2-3 (as per spice preference)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Butter chicken masala (I used MDH brand) – 1 tbsp
  • Ground cumin – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground black pepper – 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida powder (Hing) – 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed Mint – 1/4 tsp
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi) – 1 tsp
  • Cooking oil (I used Avocado oil) – 1 1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery powder – 1 tsp (Can be replaced with sugar)
  • Heavy cream – 1 cup
  • Butter – 1 tbsp
  • Cardamom seeds (crushed) – From 2 cardamom pods
  • Coriander/Cilantro leaves (for garnish) – 1/4 cup
  • Water ~ 1 cup

Directions

  1. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan or skillet. Add chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies in the oil. Also add onions and saute them on medium flame till they turn golden brown. Switch off the flame and let the mixture cool for sometime.
  2. Meanwhile, add the chopped tomatoes to the blender.
  3. Also add the onion mixture prepared in step 1 to the blender along with the tomatoes.
  4. Blend the ingredients to a smooth paste. The base of makhani gravy is ready.
  5. In the same non-stick pan/skillet, heat 1/2 tsp oil, add asafoetida powder and then add the blended mixture.
  6. Cook the mixture for around 5 minutes, and add the dry spices (salt, turmeric powder, butter chicken masala, ground cumin, red chili powder, ground black pepper and coriander powder.
  7. Simmer the mixture on low-medium heat for around 10-15 minutes or till oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  8. Add the chicken pieces to the mixture and saute for around 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add water and cover the pan. Simmer the mixture for around 15-20 minutes on medium heat till the chicken is completely cooked through.
  10. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the lid, reduce the heat to low, and add butter, cream, jaggery powder, crushed mint, crushed cardamom seeds and dried fenugreek leaves
  11. Adjust the salt and cook for around 2-3 minutes more. Switch off the flame.
  12. Garnish the creamy butter chicken with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves, and serve hot with naan or basmati rice.

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan or skillet. Add chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies in the oil. Also add onions and saute them on medium flame till they turn golden brown. Switch off the flame and let the mixture cool for sometime.
  • Meanwhile, add the chopped tomatoes to the blender.
  • Also add the onion mixture prepared in step 1 to the blender along with the tomatoes.
  • Blend the ingredients to a smooth paste. The base of makhani gravy is ready.
  • In the same non-stick pan/skillet, heat 1/2 tsp oil, add asafoetida powder and then add the blended mixture.
  • Cook the mixture for around 5 minutes, and add the dry spices (salt, turmeric powder, butter chicken masala, ground cumin, red chili powder, ground black pepper and coriander powder.
  • Simmer the mixture on low-medium heat for around 10-15 minutes or till oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the mixture and saute for around 2-3 minutes.
  • Add water and cover the pan. Simmer the mixture for around 15-20 minutes on medium heat till the chicken is completely cooked through.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove the lid, reduce the heat to low, and add butter, cream, jaggery powder, crushed mint, crushed cardamom seeds and dried fenugreek leaves. Adjust the salt and cook for around 2-3 minutes more. Switch off the flame.
  • Garnish the creamy butter chicken with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves, and serve hot with naan or basmati rice!!

5 thoughts on “Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

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