Butter Chicken

30 Mar

This isn’t exactly the most authentic. But it tastes delicious, isn’t filled with ghee (actually there is none) and it’s very simple and quick. Now, I will warn you, there is a healthy way to make this recipe, and a not-healthy-at-all way to make it. The choice is up to you!

I’ve been making this since first year law school and I never tire of it. To make it a quick weeknight go to I usually dice the chicken and marinate it the night before. Then when I come home from work there is very little to do.

This recipe is adapted from the painfully cute Dave Lieberman from the food network.

Serves 4


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cute into bite sized pieces

1 cup whole milk plain yogurt (if you’re committed to the unhealthy way – which you will find out in just a second how to do – i recommend making sure you have whole milk yogurt. Otherwise any kind of plain yogurt will do)

3 large garlic cloves, pressed in a garlic press

1 inch piece of ginger grated* see the bottom of this post for a ginger grating tip

8 cardamom pods lightly pressed with the back of a knife, so they crack a little bit

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp paprika

2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes (ya, i double and sometimes triple this – to each their own)

2 tbsp honey

20 grinds black pepper

1 medium onion or two smaller onions pureed in a food processor (if you don’t have one just finely dice them)

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup milk OR half and half cream OR full cream – I think you see where this is going….

1 tsp kasoori methi (optional)

cilantro to garnish (optional)

Before I get started on the instructions I want to explain the milk vs. cream scenario so you’re all playing with a full deck here.  Milk has this annoying habit of curdling slightly when you boil it. So if presentation is not something you’re going for then don’t use milk. Half and half will also do this, but slightly less than milk. Full cream however will not. So if you’re feeling bold and looking for a richer dish (which butter chicken usually is) then go for full cream. But you probably want to use a cup and a half, b/c it’s a bit thicker.


Combine the yogurt and all the spices in a large bowl. Add all your chicken pieces and combine. Let this marinate for a minimum of 2 hours in the fridge. What I usually do is combine it the night before and let it go all night. This makes for a pretty easy recipe when you make dinner the next night.

Puree the onion in a food processor or chop it. Heat a sauce pan (I use a wok) on medium heat. Add a splash of cooking oil and saute your onion for about 3-5 minutes. Add your tomato paste and combine. Add the marinated chicken mixture (ensuring to get every last bit of mixture from the boil). Add your milk/cream and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Don’t cover this makes for a thicker sauce.

At the end, turn off your burner and sprinkle your butter chicken with the kasoori methi. Let sit covered for 5 minutes. (the kasoori methi sprinkle was a secret I got from one of the girls at work – shout out to Sunita! The best Indian cook I know! – it really adds something special!)

Serve over top of basmati rice with a garnish or cilantro. Serving with Naan is also pretty damn delicious!

Indian cooking at home = AMAZING! (confession – I still order from the place at the end of the street from time to time – b/c let’s face it, delicious indian take-out can’t be beat!)

Ya we didn’t like this at all……barely ate any……

*The best trick I have learnt for grating ginger is to freeze it. It is not only super simple to grate frozen, but you also always have ginger on hand b/c it never goes bad (I do this for every recipe that calls for ginger, even when it calls for chopped ginger, I still grate it). Once I’ve grated off what I need I throw whatever is left of the ginger bulb back in the freezer for next time. At all times I have about 4 large pieces of ginger on the go in my freezer. Ginger grating has never been so simple! (I’m laughing at you Meg, Ian and Allie).

3 Responses to “Butter Chicken”


  1. Crispy Tofu with Udon Noodles, Bok Choy and Mushrooms « A Kitchen in Cabbagetown - April 1, 2011

    […] in mind the grated ginger trick from my butter chicken […]

  2. Smoked Paprika Shrimp with Ginger Lime Dip « A Kitchen in Cabbagetown - June 23, 2011

    […] 1 tsp grated ginger (use the tip I talk about here) […]

  3. Szechuan Braised Cod « A Kitchen in Cabbagetown - November 19, 2011

    […] 1 1/2 tbsp ginger (grate it like i suggest here) […]

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