Chicken Makhani – Indian Butter Chicken

 Chicken Makhani - Indian Butter Chicken

 This is one our favorite Indian dishes so it was fitting that it was the first Indian dish I tried at home. We eat a lot of Indian and Pakistani food, but it is always out.  I just assumed it would be very difficult to make at home because I know very little about traditional Indian cooking and spices. But, once I started to do some research it seemed this would be a pretty simple dish – and it was. And it was super tasty. This recipe is not very spicy (and we like a lot of heat), so up the cayenne (and maybe throw in some chiles) if you want some heat. I’ve include raita, naan, and basmati rice in the recipe as accompaniments but you can serve with whatever you choose.

Chicken Makhani – Indian Butter Chicken

Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Adapted from several versions
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 6-8
  • For raita:
  • ¼ cup cucumber, finely diced
  • ¼ cup white onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup tomato, finely diced
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Optional: fresh mint and/or cilantro
  • For sauce:
  • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (29 oz.) can tomato puree
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • For chicken:
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 3.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Optional: naan bread, basmati rice, and fresh lime to serve
  1. Prepare the raita by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. peanut oil in a large pot, skillet, or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Sauté the shallot and onion a few minutes until tender. Stir in the butter, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring for a few minutes until well combined. Add the tomato puree, stirring to combine. Stir in the yogurt, half and half, cayenne, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally while you cook the chicken.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp. peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, stirring frequently, with the garam masala and cayenne pepper, until cooked through.
  4. Add the chicken, and juices, to the butter sauce and stir to combine. Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl and add to the butter sauce. Stir to combine and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove bay leaves and discard.
  5. Serve hot with basmati rice, naan, raita, and lime wedges.
*This makes a large entree so make sure to use an extra-large skillet or something large enough to hold the entire recipe. I use a Dutch oven and suggest that if you have one. You will also need another skillet, though not as large, to cook the chicken. *I serve this with raita, an Indian condiment that can also include fresh mint or cilantro – so feel free to add fresh herbs if you have those on hand.



One thought on “Chicken Makhani – Indian Butter Chicken

  1. Nicki August 13, 2013 / 12:13 AM

    Second time making this! Fabulous!!!! Served with brown basmati and raita. Thanks!

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