Rich Butter Chicken

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Butter chicken is one of the most popular Indian recipes in western countries and for good reason. It is savory, rich, and easy! I learned this recipe from my director friend Gregory Segal who came to visit me in Ukraine for a few weeks. His recipe for this rich butter chicken is absolutely delicious, and a good entry to Indian food for those looking to dip their toes in the water. And the best part is, you can use the leftover sauce to quickly whip up some butter shrimp the next day!

If you have seen some of my Sri Lankan recipes, like my Chicken Devel or Ambul Thiyal then you might find some similarities in the spices used. However I will say now that both cuisines are quite different.

The most important part of this recipe in my opinion is the marinade for the chicken. In a bowl add 2 cups of plain yogurt.  Marinate 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of cubed chicken thighs or breast in the yogurt, along with 1/4 cup of chopped ginger, 1/4 cup of chopped garlic, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp of tumeric,  and the juice of one half large lemon. The ratios of the spices are fungible, so if you like/dislike a certain ingredient alter this recipe at will.

Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Overnight is highly recommended.

In a pan on medium high heat add 3 tbsp of ghee. If you do not have ghee available then you can use butter, just watch the heat so the butter fats do not burn. Into the pan add 1 tsp fennel seeds and 1 tsp coriander seeds. Lightly fry for a minute then add one red onion. Add 1 tsp of finely ground ginger and 2 cloves chopped garlic.  Let all simmer together on low heat until the onion gets soft and cooks down.  Add a little bit (2 tsp) more oil as cooking as needed.  Keep heat low so as not to burn anything.

Next add four blanched large tomatoes, chopped,  and a cup of water.  Let simmer on a medium heat until the tomatoes also break down and the onions are mostly dissolved.   Then remove the mix from the heat.  Put into a blended and blend for 30 seconds, to liquefy. Set aside.

Into the pan add some ghee or oil and then add in the marinated chicken pieces and marinade on medium low heat. Let the chicken cook slowly in the marinade, about 12-15 minutes. Then use tongs to remove the chicken pieces and set aside.

Next pour into the pan everything from the blender you set aside. Add 4 tablespoons of good quality butter and stir. Next add one to two tablespoon of garam masala mixture (or separately add more cumin, coriander powders, tumeric, paprika)  Add one half tablespoon of fenugreek powder.  Add one tsp of spicy chili powder or cayenne pepper (or less to taste, as butter chicken is generally not a spicy dish).  Add more garlic and add salt to taste. Make sure that the chicken bits on the bottom of the pan are scraped up into the mix so as to add that flavor.   

Add a cup of sliced button mushrooms to the sauce and stir them in. This is not very traditional, but I do like what the mushrooms add to this rich butter chicken dish. Of course, if you want to keep this completely authentic then you can skip this step.

Re-introduce the chicken to the sauce and stir everything together. Add 2/3 cup of heavy cream and continue to stir an additional 5 mins.  Add 1-2 tbsp more of butter and lower the heat.  Check to make sure the chicken is cooked through and if so plate it up. I like to serve this rich butter chicken with some flatbread (choose your favorite type) and another drizzle of heavy cream.

devilishly rich butter chicken

Rich Butter Chicken

This delightfully simple Indian recipe makes a delicious butter chicken. Decadent and rich, this dish is perfect for entertaining as it's one of the most loved Indian recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian, South Asian
Keyword: Butter Chicken, Indian Chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinating: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 809kcal
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Pan

Ingredients

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 kg Chicken breast or thighs, 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups Yogurt plain
  • 1/4 cup Ginger chopped
  • 1/4 cup Garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp Coriander ground
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice freshly squeezed

Butter Chicken Sauce

  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 3 tbsp Ghee can use butter or olive oil if no ghee
  • 1 Red Onion chopped
  • 1 tsp Ginger finely ground
  • 2 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 4 large Tomatoes blanched, peeled, chopped
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 6 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tsp Fenugreek powder
  • 2/3 cup Heavy Cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Chili Powder to taste
  • 1 cup Mushrooms sliced (optional)

Instructions

  • Take plain yogurt (2 cups).  Marinate 1Kg of cubed chicken thighs or breast in yogurt, with 1/4 cup of chopped ginger, 1/4 cup of chopped garlic, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp of tumeric,  Juice of one half large lemon. 
  • Marinate 6-24 hours.  Keep in refrigerator ,  Longer is better.  
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds and 1 tsp coriander seeds into a pan with 3 tbs of ghee.  If no ghee, use butter or olive oil.  Lightly brown the seeds, and then add one red onion. Add 1 tsp of finely ground ginger and 2 cloves chopped garlic.  let all simmer together low heat until onion gets soft and cooks down.  Add a little bit (2 tsp) more oil as cooking as needed.  Keep heat low so as not to burn anything
  • Add four blanched large tomatoes, chopped,  and a cup of water.  Let simmer on a mid-heat until the tomatoes also break down and the onions are mostly dissolved.   Then remove the mix from the heat.  Put into a blended and blend for 30 seconds, to liquefy. 
  • Take chicken and put into a pan with ghee.   Sear the chicken and brown it on all sides.   This should take 15 minutes of cooking, cube sizes should be about 3 cm per side, so as to allow it to brown without losing tenderness.  Take the chicken out of the pan and put aside.  
  • Without cleaning the pan, add the tomato mixture and put on medium heat.  Add 4 tablespoons of good quality butter and stir the butter in.  Add one to two tablespoon of garam masala mixture (or separately add more cumin, coriander powders, tumeric, paprika)  Add one half tablespoon of fenegreco powder.  Add one tsp of spicy chili powder or cayenne pepper (or less to laste, though BC is generally not a spicy dish).  Add more garlic and add salt, as desired to taste. Make sure that the chicken bits on the bottom of the pan are scraped up into the mix so as to add that flavor.  Mix in the mushrooms if you are using them.
  • Add the chicken back into the mixture and simmer until the chicken is cooked all the way through.  Add 2/3 cup of heavy cream and continue to stir and additional 5 mins.  Add 1-2 tbsp more of butter and lower the heat.  
  • Put the dish into a small bowls and garnish on top with a tssp of heavy cream and fresh coriander and other herbs as desired.  

Nutrition

Calories: 809kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 67g | Saturated Fat: 35g | Cholesterol: 235mg | Sodium: 326mg | Potassium: 1075mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2921IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 249mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this?Mention @CookingToEntertain or tag #cookingtoentertain and let me know how it was!

Rich Butter Chicken

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