Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani


Chicken is marinated for several hours in a cream, yogurt and spice mixture. The spices may include garam masala, ginger, garlic, lemon or lime, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili.

The chicken is usually cooked in a tandoor (traditional clay oven), but may be grilled, roasted, or pan fried. It is served in a mild curry sauce that includes butter. There are many variations on the composition and spicing of the sauce. Spices may include asafoetida, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek (Kasuri methi). Cream may be used in the sauce or as a garnish. Cashew paste may be used as a thickener.

Garnishes can include butter, cream, green chillies, coriander and fenugreek.


For the chicken

  • 400 grams boneless chicken
  • ½ tablespoon ginger paste
  • ½ tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil, for shallow frying

For the Gravy

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 250 grams onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • ½ kg tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 to 10 cashews or cashew paste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons cream
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi


  1. Take a medium sized bowl and add chicken, garlic paste, ginger paste, red chili powder, and salt together. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the chicken pieces till fried on each side. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat butter and a little bit of oil.
  4. Add onions and cook till translucent.
  5. Add garlic paste, followed by tomatoes.
  6. Cook the tomatoes for a few minutes then add cashews (or cashew paste), followed by sugar, vinegar, salt and red chili powder.
  7. Add about a cup of water and keep cooking the tomatoes till the tomatoes get soft and mashed.
  8. Blend the onion tomato mixture into a smooth puree. This can be done using an immersion blender or a blender. If using a blender, make sure the mixture is cooled down for about 10 – 15 minutes before starting to blend.
  9. Once the mixture is blended, take a fine sieve and strain it back into the same pot. This will ensure that the gravy is creamy and has a velvety texture.
  10. Add the chicken and bring it to a boil.
  11. Add butter, cream followed by garam masala and fenugreek leaves.
  12. Stir together, and serve with steamed rice or naan.
  13. Garnish with butter and kasuri methi.
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