Butter Chicken

The best butter chicken you will ever taste, recipe with step by step instructions.

butter-chicken-1

Let me tell you about butter chicken. It is the best chicken dish you will ever eat. I remember the first time I had butter chicken was about 10 years ago when I first went to an Indian restaurant for lunch and tried all sort of Indian dishes. Butter chicken was by far my favorite dish and every time I go to an Indian restaurant I have to have it.

Now there are many variations of butter chicken, and I’ve tried to make it many times and I haven’t really succeeded to get that restaurant taste. Until now! I have finally found a recipe online on www.vahrehvah.com that finally held up to my expectations. If you think butter chicken is cooked with a lot of butter, not so, contrary to its title, there’s not much butter in it. I believe it’s called butter chicken because of how silky and smooth the sauce is, but feel free to correct me.

The sauce is not really that difficult to make and all in all it took me about an hour to make the entire dish. The secret really is to have all the spices, and seeing how much I love Indian cuisine I do have a lot of the spices, but if you don’t, you can easily find them at your regular grocery store.

The main ingredients are chicken, garlic, ginger, onion, chili pepper, chili powder, cream, cumin seeds, cashew, tomatoes, salt, coriander powder, and garam masala. I have to say the sauce did not really get that restaurant taste until I added the garam masala, and then the sauce literally transformed and had this delicious butter chicken taste.

Once you get all your ingredients together it really is a piece of cake. So I learned this from watching Chef Vah and he really made it easy to make this dish. I used boneless skinless chicken breast for this, which I cut into small pieces. First you’ll need to add half the garlic and ginger to the chicken, coriander powder, chili powder and salt. Mix the chicken with these spices and garlic and ginger well.

Heat up the oil in a large skillet to which you will add the prepared chicken. We don’t need to cook the chicken fully, because it will fully cook in the sauce, later on. You just want to cook it enough, to get those nice brown bits in the bottom of your skillet. The reason to cook the chicken before adding it to your sauce, is because if you add raw chicken to your sauce, it will ooze out water, making your sauce watery and giving it a different texture.

Remove the chicken from the skillet so now you should have all the oil left in the skillet with all the brown bits which are full of flavor. Add the cumin seeds, the onion and remaining garlic and ginger to the skillet and saute for a couple minutes, just to cook the onion a bit. Add a couple cups of water to the skillet and stir. Add the cashew nuts, cumin seeds, add the remaining coriander powder, remaining red chili powder, green chili, the tomatoes and stir well.

Next, we need to let the sauce cook slowly over medium low heat for about 30 minutes. You’ll notice that after 30 minutes the sauce reduced, but before adding more water, we have to blend in a blender. Be careful with pouring hot liquids in a blender, make sure you let the sauce cool a bit before turning on the blender, or you could burn yourself. After blending the sauce well, pour it back in the skillet.

You’ll now notice the sauce is already looking silkier so the sauce right now it’s pretty thick, so I added another cup of water because it will get even thicker later on when we add the cream. Add the butter at this time and you’ll notice how smooth and silky the sauce will get. Now they say that in restaurants to get the sauce that nice red color they add some kind of food coloring to it, however I didn’t do that. One thing that Chef Vah recommended though, is to add a bit of ketchup to the sauce, and a little bit of sugar to give it a nice sweet taste. Also it’s time to add some more salt to the sauce, and make sure you taste as you go along and season until you’re happy with the taste. It’s finally time to add the cream to the sauce and the chicken. Cook for a few more minutes, you want to make sure you cook the chicken properly now and keep tasting and add salt if necessary. At the end when the chicken is cooked, it’s finally time to add the garam masala. Trust me, if you follow these steps, you will end up with a delicious butter chicken and you will love it. This butter chicken will go perfectly well with naan which you can also easily make yourself.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Butter Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 lb (1 kg) chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 green chili, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped for garnish
  • 2 to 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Add half the garlic and ginger to the chicken, 1 tbsp of the coriander powder, ½ tbsp chili powder and salt. Mix the chicken with these spices and garlic and ginger well.
  2. Heat up the oil in a large skillet to which you will add the prepared chicken. Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes then remove it from the skillet.
  3. In the same skillet add the cumin seeds, the onion and remaining garlic and ginger to the skillet and saute for a couple minutes, just to cook the onion a bit. Add a couple cups of water to the skillet and stir. Add the cashew nuts, cumin seeds, add the remaining coriander powder, remaining red chili powder, green chili, the tomatoes and stir well.
  4. Let the sauce cook slowly over medium low heat for about 30 minutes. Pour the sauce in a blender and blend it until it's nice and smooth. Pour the sauce back in the skillet. Add another cup of water and the butter. Add the ketchup and the sugar and stir well. Season the sauce with salt.
  5. Add the cream and the chicken to the sauce. Cook the chicken for a few more minutes, making sure it's cooked through. Add the garam masala and stir well.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley.

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Comments

  1. Sarika says

    add a tsp -a tbsp of crushed kasuri methi available in a box in indian stores…that will perfect this and of the comment before about marinating with tandoori spices

  2. says

    Wow…. Butter chicken! I am very excited to give this a try. I love Indian food. But I have never made them and I am scared to try. I always think there would be many kind of spices that I can’t get or some kind of secret ingredients. After checking out this recipe, it doesn’t seem to be that mysterious or hard. I would definitely make it.
    Quick question. Is this recipe spicy at all? Or are the spices only there for flavors? I don’t like spicy food and I can’t really take it. I just want to make sure. Thanks!

    • says

      This chicken is not spicy, the spices are mostly for flavor, so don’t worry, you’ll be fine. I’m not one for food that’s too spicy either.

  3. Amalia Woosley says

    Dear Jo –

    I just discovered your website a few days ago and was extremely impressed with the quality of its content – the pictures are fantastic and look so professional, and the recipes are organized so well – wow, I am speechless! Congratulations, and more importantly – THANK YOU for taking the time and energy to put this together for all of us! I am also from Romania, have lived in the US for a few years now, but miss the yummy food from “home”. However, I am also interested in other cuisines, so for my first recipe from your collection I picked the Butter Chicken and will never regret it :-) I simply LOVED it. The spices gave it a wonderful flavor, and I loved the smoothness of the sauce (got to use my food processor for the first time :-)

    Thank you again for creating this wonderful website – I will pick my Christmas and New Year’s recipes from it, and many others in the future. May you and your family have a great 2012, and Happy Holidays!
    Amalia

    • says

      Hi Amalia,
      Thank you so much for everything you said. When I get comments like this, it makes it all worth it. I’m so happy you enjoyed the butter chicken, it’s one of my favorites.
      Happy Holidays to you as well. :)

  4. Roy says

    Interesting alternative way of adding chicken to the butter sauce. My method is to roast or broil the chicken (marinated in tandoori spices) and then add it to the sauce.

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