Sunday, March 29, 2015

India's Invention... Butter Chicken

If you ask me, Butter Chicken is one of the greatest inventions ever made by Indian chefs :-). You will not find any non-vegetarian who does not love a perfectly cooked butter chicken. Why shouldn't they, it is really one of the delicious main courses of all time. Its rich tomato gravy is famous all across the globe. 

I always feel proud to tell anyone that Butter chicken was invented in India. The dish was invented by accident at Moti Mahal Restaurant in Daryaganj in Delhi, but it does not matter whether it was a mistake or not :-). Even the great Chef Gordon Ramsay visited Moti Mahal to taste the authentic Butter Chicken. 

There are various versions of Butter Chicken out there with different styles, techniques and ingredients. Some of the them are so technical that you may need special equipment for the preparations i.e. a Tandoor. I would like to show my version today, which can be cooked easily at home. I would just use a deep pan, a hand blender and my newly ordered chef's knife to cook it :).

Usually the authentic butter chicken is cooked in tomato sauce, however I prefer to add a bit of onion as well. Onion gives quantity to a dish. You can omit them if you want.

Usually the butter chicken is cooked in butter. However if you are one of those health cautious people like me, then I advise to use olive oil to saute the onion and tomatoes. At a later stage add some butter to elevate its taste.

The ingredients and method may sound little over whelming, however trust me it is not that complex. Please feel free to experiment with the spice level as per your taste.

Let's get to it.


  • 600 gms boneless chicken. 
  • 300 gms curd. 
  • 1 tsp red chili powder. 
  • 1 mace. Optional.
  • 4 green chilies.
  • 5 cardamoms. 
  • Salt to taste. 
  • 2 tsp Chicken masala
  • 2 tsp coriander powder. 
  • 2 tsp cumin powder. 
  • 4 to 5 tsp butter.  
  • 2 cloves. 
  • 1 tsp sugar. 
  • Cream. 
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek leaves. Hand crushed.
  • 5 big tomatoes. 
  • 2 onions. 
  • Tomato ketchup. 
  • Lemon juice. 
  • Cilantro leaves to garnish. 

I used a new ingredient today i.e. Mace. I learned about this ingredient from chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Chef Harpal singh.

This picture is taken from


Chicken Marination 

  • Cut chicken into manageable pieces in a bowl. 
  • Add curd. 
  • Add a spoon n half of ginger paste. 
  • Add 1 tsp garlic paste. 
  • Add 2 tsp chicken masala. 
  • Add salt to taste. 
  • Add lemon juice. 
  • Add a tsp of red chili powder. 
  • Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. More is better. I prefer at lease 4 hours.

The Gravy

  • In a hot pan. Add generous quantity of olive oil.
  • Add finely chopped onions. Saute them till they turn golden brown. Keep the heat on max. 
  • Add a little bit salt. Salt helps to bring out onion's moisture. 
  • Add chopped chilies. 
  • Add ginger n garlic paste. 
  • Add diced tomatoes. 
  • Add cumin powder and coriander powder. 
  • Add red chili powder.
  • Add salt to taste. Mix them well. 
  • Cook them well till oil separates from tempering. 
  • Take the tempering out and blend the tempering in a mixer or hand blend it. 
  • Heat the pan up and add butter. If you wish you can do entire dish in butter with a touch of olive oil, so that butter does not burn.
  • On top of melting butter add back the tempering. Mix them well. 
  • Add the marinated chicken. Mix well. 
  • Simmer the heat. Put the lid on. And let the chicken cook. 
  • Cook it for another 15 to 20 mins or until chicken becomes tender. 
  • Add fenugreek leaves, 1 tsp tomato ketchup and cream when gravy is almost ready. Mix them well. 
  • And that's it. 

Let's plate up

Serve hot with Indian bread, naan or basmati rice. I am not an expert, but I do hope you will like it.

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