Simple (BEST) Butter Chicken Recipe | Murgh Makhani

Chicken Butter Masala recipe

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This creamy butter chicken recipe is probably one of the most identifiable Indian chicken curries. Also known as Chicken Butter Masala, it is luscious, creamy and when served with rice or some delicious naan, it makes for a delicious yet comforting meal. Here, in this post, I will tell you how to make simple butter chicken at home from scratch.

This creamy butter chicken recipe is probably one of the most tried & tested recipes that I have been working upon for several months. Not only this recipe for butter chicken is without cream, but it comes together in no time at all. With no marination required, you can easily bring this gravy recipe of Murgh Makhani or Chicken Butter Masala in a jiffy.

Plus, at the end of this article, you will find a ‘diet-friendly’ version of Chicken Butter Masala which is low calorie and perfect for those who are into healthy food.

Murgh Makhani gravy recipe

Let’s get on with this simple (yet creamy) butter chicken recipe

Every butter chicken recipe has to go through close scrutiny basis on the texture and taste of the gravy. It has to be luscious, creamy, slightly tangy with tomatoes, mildly sweet yet with a little hint of heat from dried red chillies. It might sound intimidating but with a few tips & tricks, it is actually very easy to nail the butter chicken recipe at home.

In this recipe, you will read how to make creamy butter chicken without cream so that you can enjoy some restaurant-style Butter Chicken gravy without feeling guilty about it!

How to make Chicken Butter Masala without Cream – Ingredients list

  • Chicken – cut in 2×2 inches pieces – with or without bone
  • Onion
  • Ginger & Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Powdered Spices like Garam Masala Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder
  • Whole Spices like dried red chilies, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
  • Nuts & Seeds like Cashew, Almond, Melon Seeds, etc
  • Milk – preferably full-fat
  • Red Chili Powder
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Refined Sunflower Oil
  • Ghee or Clarified Butter – alternate would be Butter
  • Coconut Milk – optional

The list might sound elaborate but all the ingredients used here are quite usual for a typical Indian curry. Most of the spices used here are very commonly available.

Legend has it that Butter Chicken had a humble origin in the form of making the best out of leftovers. A restaurant owner in Delhi, Kundan Lal Gujral had a dilemma of having tonnes of leftover tandoori chicken. So, he devised a dish out of those roasted chicken pieces by adding and cooking them in a tomato-based spicy yet creamy gravy which later got famous as Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani.

Being a resident of the same city and having tasted authentic butter chicken at some of the most popular restaurants, it has been a challenge for me to recreate the same dish at home, albeit a tad bit less indulgent. So, in case if you have been also wondering about how do you make butter chicken from scratch at home, here’s an absolutely simplified version of the immensely popular chicken makhani recipe.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make simple recipe of butter chicken at home

  • Heat a skillet and add a knob of butter and some refined sunflower oil or olive oil. As the butter melts, place the chicken pieces in the pan. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them and allow them to fry till they get golden and crisp. Turn them over and repeat with the other side
  • Once done, take them out and keep them aside. Now in the same pan, add some more oil and allow it to warm up. Drop the whole spices and allow them to sizzle. Now, add the roughly chopped onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Cook it on medium-low heat until they turn soft and mushy. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool down completely.
  • Soak the nuts and seeds in lukewarm water
  • Once the prepared spice mix has cooled down completely, grind it into a smooth paste. Heat some ghee in the same skillet and add this gravy. Now season it with salt and sugar, powdered spices and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  • After it has reduced a bit in volume, add the milk. Grind the nuts and seeds into a fine paste and add it to the simmering gravy. Give everything a mix.
  • Add the fried chicken and let it cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Once the chicken is cooked completely and the gravy has turned creamy, add the coconut milk and slightly crushed dried fenugreek leaves. Turn off the heat and serve with some chopped coriander leaves and a knob of butter on top as garnish.

As you can see, we have replaced the cream with milk and a touch of coconut milk at the end. We have also used ghee along with refined oil instead of butter for cooking. This recipe for butter chicken gravy can be sufficient for 5-6 people. So, you can imagine how this recipe has been modified into a much healthier version of murgh makhani.

I really hope that after reading this easy butter chicken gravy recipe, you will never buy those ready-to-eat butter chicken masala powder packets available at the supermarket. Not only do you get to make this superb Indian curry at home much easier, but you can also keep a check on the quality of ingredients that goes into making the dish.

How to serve Chicken Butter Masala recipe?

Butter Chicken or this Murgh Makhani recipe pairs best with Indian naans. You can also serve it with Jeera rice or simple rice.

‘Diet-friendly’ Butter Chicken Recipe without Cream: A Low-Calorie Version For Health Freak Foodies

Disclaimer: No Butter was used in making this low-calorie recipe of Butter Chicken. 

The first thing that pops into my mind is that the heading I have chosen has too many ironies in it. First of all a diet version of Butter Chicken. I mean I have already purged the sacrosanctity of one chicken recipe that sits at the helm of Punjabi cuisine.

As if that wasn’t enough! I am offering this to the health freaks. Those who are trying to stay away from fat, are being offered something that is known to be rich and absolutely delicious. In my defence, I would like to say that this Butter Chicken recipe (pardon the misnomer!) is the one recipe that you need if you want to enjoy something delicious without feeling the guilt about the calories.

Also, let me tell you that this is the Murgh Makhani recipe that I make most often. Since we tend to crave the Butter Chicken recipe, the Punjabi Dhaba style, almost every fortnight, we cannot go berserk with our diet. Hence this low-calorie version of the Butter Chicken recipe comes very very handy.

Ingredients

For Marinade
  • 500 gms Chicken With bone pieces
  • 4 tbsp Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp Ginger paste
  • Salt to Taste
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder (Kashmiri Mirch variant)
  • 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • Lemon Juice of 1/2 Lemon
For Gravy
  • 4 Tomatoes Large, pureed
  • 2 Onion Medium, paste
  • 4-5 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2-3 tbsp Full-fat Milk
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi or Dried Fenugreek Leaves

Instructions to make this Murgha Makhani without Cream

Marination
  1. Mix all the ingredients listed for marination with Chicken and let it soak for a minimum of 30 minutes 
Making the Gravy
  1. Heat oil in a pan and bay leaf to it. Then add the Onion paste and Tomato puree to it. Fry this on medium heat till it reduces in quantity
  2. Then add the spices like Cumin powder, Coriander powder, Garam Masala and dried Fenugreek leaves
  3. When the mix is fried nicely and turns brown, add the marinated chicken with the marinade. Mix everything well and allow it to simmer on low heat with lid on. It should take somewhere around 10-15 minutes to cook the chicken 
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, adjust the gravy as per your requirement by adding water. Season with salt, if necessary
  5. Before removing it from heat, add full fat milk. You may garnish it with chopped green chilies and coriander leaves

Some Chicken recipes which might interest you!

Have you tried this recipe? I would love to hear about it.
Tag me on Instagram @priyankabhattacharya.sa or Facebook @hashdiaries and I will share it further.

Simple & Easy Butter Chicken Recipe | Murgh Makhani
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

This creamy butter chicken recipe is probably one of the most identifiable Indian chicken curry. It is luscious, creamy and when served with rice or some delicious naan, it makes for a delicious yet comforting meal. Here, in this post I will tell you how to make simple butter chicken at home from scratch.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Punjabi
Keyword: Chicken Recipes, Dhaba Food, Gluten Free Recipes, Restaurant style Recipes
Servings: 6 people
Author: Priyanka
Ingredients
  • 2 onion medium
  • 8 tomatoes medium
  • 10 garlic
  • 2 inches ginger
  • 2 dry red chili
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • 6 fenugreek seeds
  • 8 cashew
  • 6 almonds
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 TSP Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 TSP carraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp refined oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk optional
  • Salt to Taste
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet and add a knob of butter and some refined sunflower oil or olive oil. As the butter melts, place the chicken pieces in the pan. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them and allow them to fry till they get golden and crisp. Turn them over and repeat with the other side
  2. Once done, take them out and keep them aside. Now in the same pan, add some more oil and allow it to warm up. Drop the whole spices and allow them to sizzle. Now, add the roughly chopped onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Cook it on medium-low heat until they turn soft and mushy. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool down completely.
  3. Soak the nuts and seeds in lukewarm water
  4. Once the prepared spice mix has cooled down completely, grind it into a smooth paste. Heat some ghee in the same skillet and add this gravy. Now season it with salt and sugar, ketchup, powdered spices and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.

  5. After it has reduced a bit in volume, add the milk. Grind the nuts and seeds into a fine paste and add it to the simmering gravy. Give everything a mix.
  6. Add the fried chicken and let it cook for a couple more minutes.
  7. Once the chicken is cooked completely and the gravy has turned creamy, add the coconut milk and slightly crushed dried fenugreek leaves. Turn off the heat and serve with some chopped coriander leaves and a knob of butter on top as garnish

This post was first published on March 19, 2021. It was later republished on July 20, 2021, with the addition of a low calories version of the Chicken Butter Masala recipe.

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