Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)

I've bookmarked this recipe a long time ago. Somehow, I forgot about it. Recently when one of my friends and loyal reader of this blog, Sibil asked me for a butter chicken recipe, the first thing that came to my mind was the mouthwatering picture of butter chicken in the book, 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi.

When I read the recipe initially, I thought its very complicated and time consuming. Finally when I finished cooking this dish, I was amazed with how easy it was!

Please dont get demotivated by the elaborate recipe. It's easy, otherwise you'd not be seeing it here. You should know by now that am a big fan of easy & simple recipes :)

Here is the recipe…

Recipe source: 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi.

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Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)

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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 -5
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 900 gms Chicken
  • 4-5 tbsp Oil

For Marinade

  • 150-200 ml Full-fat yogurt
  • 1 – 1.25 tbsp each Ginger & garlic paste
  • 2-3 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder
  • 3 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 – 1.5 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt

For Makhani Sauce

  • 2-3 medium Tomatoes
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves)
  • 75 gms Chilled butter (refer notes)
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika / Kashmiri chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp Vinegar (optional)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 40 gm Whipping cream


  • First prepare the marinade. Place the yogurt in a piece of cheese cloth and hang to allow the whey to drip away( refer notes). Add the marinade to yogurt and mix well. Make gashes in the chicken if using pieces on the bone. Marinate the chicken in the yogurt mixture for at least 1 hour, preferably 2; for best results leave overnight.
  • Heat 4-5 tbsp oil in a large, thick-bottomed skillet and put in the chicken with the marinade. Cover and cook on low-medium heat till the chicken is done. Turn the chicken over during cooking. Keep the cooked chicken aside.
  • Scald the tomatoes for the makhani sauce and peel off the skin. Reduce to a semi-pulp with a fork or potato masher. Heat 2 tsp oil in a frying pan and put the tomato pulp. Cook for 5 mins or so until the liquid has evaporated slightly. Add the chilled butter and paprika; after the butter has melted, let it cook for just 1 minute. Taste, if its not sour, add vinegar. Add the kasuri methi (crush it using hands or mortar & pestle) and garam masala and salt. After 30 seconds, add the cream and stir. The makhani sauce is ready. Add the cooked chicken pieces to the sauce and mix well. Serve hot.
  • Update as on 28/08/09: Some changes are made in the the qty of certain ingredients (yogurt & tomato) . Initially, I mentioned it in my notes below,but looks like most people read the notes after they finish cooking. So I thought its better to make the changes directly in the recipe itself :) and now you see the updated recipe.
  • Notes by the author of the recipe: You can cook the chicken ahead of time. But makhani sauce takes only 5-6 mins and should be made when the dish is to be eaten. In India, restaurateurs mix a little papaya puree into the marinade as a tenderizer. The above quantity serves 4-5 people.


I made only half the qty of the above recipe. I used boneless chicken pieces(chicken breast) and marinated it overnight.
I used Almarai brand (available in Gulf countries) whipping cream. If you're using whipping cream, 1/3 – 1/2 cup of cream is enough for the above recipe.
I used very less butter, around 10-15 gm for half the qty of the above recipe.
I pureed the tomatoes using a blender.
I added the yogurt directly without dripping away the excess water.
The gravy tends to thicken in due course, so adjust your gravy accordingly.
I didnt add vinegar.
The original measurements of spice powders in the recipe was less, so I've given my measurements. If you want a less spicy version, adjust it accordingly.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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