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Butter Chicken


Butter Chicken Recipe


500 grams boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
juice of 1 lemon
salt and red chili powder, to taste
1 cup yogurt
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp garlic
1 1/2 tbs tandoori masala
3 tbs butter
2 cardamoms
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
4 medium ripe tomatoes, blended
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbs honey
1 tbs dried fenugreek leaves
250 ml thick cream
extra butter or coriander to garnish


Marinate the chicken cubes in lemon juice, salt, chili powder, yogurt, ginger, garlic and tandoori powder for at least half an hour. Overnight is best. Preheat the oven to the highest grill setting. Place the chicken on a baking tray closest to the grill and grill for at least 10 minutes on each side or until cooked. Allow the chicken to cook until it JUST starts to char.

To prepare the gravy, heat and melt the butter. Add to it the the cardamoms, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Stir fry for a minute before adding the tomatoes and tomato paste, Let this simmer on low to medium heat, half covered, for about 15-20 minutes. You will notice the gravy thicken and the oil will form a film on top. If the gravy is too thick, you can add a small amount of water. Add the rest of the ingredients as well as the grilled chicken and simmer for another 15 minutes. Garnish with butter or coriander.

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42 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Shirley

    May I know what is the difference between tandoori masala and garam masala? Are they spices in powder format?

    • Sir Cee Gee

      Generic translation of Masala means condiment. Garam means HOT. Garam Masala is a combination of those masalas which have warming effect on the body whereas Tandoori Masala is that combination of masalas which are specifically used for clay over preparation.

  2. interesting story! i heard that it was born from a client request to have sauce served with his tandoori chicken and thus the “butter sauce” was created, interesting how diff stories are shared ard.

    we have always been lazy to cook this and always use the short cut bottle, maybe i might think twice to whip one up from scratch!

  3. Julie

    Is Butter Chicken the same as Chicken Tikka Masala? In any case, love this recipe, thanks for sharing with us Rasa Malaysia and Lick my Spoon.

  4. Garam masala powder is a mixture of ground spices made from cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and star anise whereas tandoori masala powder is completely different. It’s usually cayenne pepper, ginger and garlic powder and a few other spices including garam masala. There are many different stories associated with the origins of butter chicken. And butter chicken and chicken tikka masala are not the same curry!

    Thanks for letting me be part of the Rasa Malaysia community!

  5. Allison

    I get this dish every time we go out for some spicy Indian food! Now I’m going to try to make it at home. Thank you both for sharing!

  6. Michael Beyer

    wow–You read my mind! I was just looking at an Indian restaurant menu yesterday longing for butter chicken.

  7. gigi

    My fiance is from India. we live together in Elmhurst,New York. I am an excellent cook. but i need to learn more vegetarian recipes because our roommate also Indian doesn’t allow meat to be cooked in the apartment. although eggs are permitted no meat or meat fat of any kind and to make things worse I’m allergic to curry?? any ideas? im a country style southern kitchen cook please help I’m dying for some home made fried chicken…what do i do???? from–desperate by the 7 train 90th & Elmhurst–

  8. Sim

    So My chicken is in the marinade. What Do i Do with the yoghurt marinade? And How will the chicken char when it is all drenched in yoghurt?:)

  9. Tipling

    When I clicked on the Link to take me to “Lick My Spoon” it took me to a different blog called “Sips and Spoonfulls” I googled Lick My Spoon and found it, but just FYI, it is linked wrong. Great Recipe though :)

    • mmmm

      i was wondering the same thing so i read the recipe again. it’s the second-to-last step:
      “Add the rest of the ingredients as well as the grilled chicken and simmer for another 15 minutes.”

  10. dvagfuzzy

    I made this recipe and it tastes like the restaurant. The only thing I’d like to know is how to make it spicier. The family thought it was a bit too mild. Any suggestions?

  11. annie

    hi RM, i tried this and it taste good!! only thing is i didn’t grill the chicken, just add them plus the yoghurt marinade into the pot and cook. not sure if this is the reason why it is watery instead of thick and creamy? can you advise please?

  12. Hg

    Traditional Butter chicken is made using a Tandoori chicken… not boneless cubed chicken. That how it is had in Lucknow as this is a ‘nawabi’ dish.

  13. Nida

    jus wanted 2 ask u what shld i use instead of tomato paste
    is it similar 2 tomato sauce or tomato puree ????

  14. shennon

    Hi Bee,

    How many person is this recipe for?
    Pardon me as i have not seen # of persons catered for in Rasa’s recipes. Kindly advice.


  15. Mario1970

    Hello Bee, I already tried a lot of your recipes and they turned out really great. Today I want to try my first Butter Chicken. One question: the cardamons… green or black? And do I need to add them in full pieces or do I need to mince them? I never cooked with them before. Thanks for your advice. Greetings from Germany

  16. Bobbo

    One more step in the instructions: After you finish cooking, turn off the heat and let it sit on the stove for at least 20 minutes. We ate right away, and I kept thinking “Something’s not right, something’s not right . . . .” I was disappointed and tried to figure out what went wrong. When it came time for cleanup I used the spoon to get one last taste from the pan, and it was like “Wow! This is what it was supposed to taste like!” It was less spicy, sweeter, and it seems like all of the flavors had properly mixed and fused. Patience, grasshopper, patience!


    We have an Indian/Asian grocery in town now, so I took the ingredient list and went shopping! Made this Sunday – it was wonderful! The only difference is I used a 10.75 oz can of tomato puree instead of the fresh, blended tomatoes, and I left the bones in the legs and thighs of the chicken. I used black cardamoms, as that was what they had. It was marvelous! The sauce is like velvet. I made Naan for the first time (not as successful), and a cucumber yogurt sauce for a cooling accompaniment in case the chicken was really spicy. It wasn’t … just right. Fabulous over basmati. We will be having this again, often. Thanks Bee & Lickmyspoon for finding us another great recipe.

  18. Jsiu

    Can’t wait to try this! Can you use coconut milk in lieu of the heavy cream? Just trying to make it slightly healthier! Since I will probably be making this a lot!! Thanks :)

  19. jsiu

    I am having a hard time finding tandoori masala – can I sub it with anything or just leave it out? Will it affect the recipe? HELP! Thanks!!

  20. Crumpet again

    This might be a stupid question but I assume you mean a whole cardamom pod, whole cloves etc, so Im wondering, do you leave those in the sauce once its finished? How do you get them out? Thanks.

  21. dave

    Just had the butter chicken and it was delicious thoroughly enjoyed it. My first time. After grilling the chicken and then 15 minutes in the sauce I found it a bit dry. Next time I will only seal the chicken and not char it. Should be nice and soft then. Thanks for the recipe.

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