Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken Masala is a famous Indian curry from Punjab to West Bengal, especially at the roadside dhabas. Basically, Butter Chicken Masala is a cashew and tomato based curry.

Butter Chicken

In this blog post, we will be exploring the delicious and aromatic world of butter chicken. This classic Indian dish is known for its rich and creamy tomato-based gravy, infused with a blend of traditional Indian spices. We will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to make this mouthwatering dish right in the comfort of your own kitchen. Get ready to elevate your culinary skills and treat your taste buds to an unforgettable experience!

Why You'll Love Butter Chicken?

  • Creamy and Tender Texture: Butter chicken is known for its creamy and tender texture, making it a delicious and comforting dish that's perfect for any meal.
  • Rich in Protein: With boneless chicken breasts as the main ingredient, this dish is high in protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
  • Packed with Flavorful Spices: The use of garam masala, turmeric, and other spices in the marinade and the ground paste adds depth and complexity to the dish, making it a flavorful and aromatic delight for your taste buds.
  • Good Source of Healthy Fats: The addition of butter and olive oil provides healthy fats that are beneficial for heart health and overall well-being.
  • Boosts Immune System: The ginger, garlic, and spices used in the recipe have immune-boosting properties, making it a great dish to enjoy during cold and flu season.
  • Easy to Customize: You can adjust the level of spiciness and richness to suit your taste preferences, making it a versatile and customizable dish for everyone to enjoy.

Ingredients for Butter Chicken

  • Boneless Chicken: The tender boneless chicken adds a hearty and protein-packed element to the dish, absorbing all the flavors of the marinade and sauce.
  • Ginger and Garlic Paste: This aromatic combination of ginger and garlic brings a depth of flavor and a hint of spiciness to the dish, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Red Chili Powder: Red chili powder adds a kick of heat and a vibrant color to the marinade and gravy, creating a perfect balance of flavors.
  • Turmeric Powder: Turmeric powder not only adds a beautiful golden hue to the dish but also brings a warm and earthy flavor to the marinade and sauce.
  • Garam Masala Powder: The warm and aromatic blend of garam masala powder adds a depth of flavor and a touch of warmth to the dish, tying all the flavors together.
  • Butter: Using butter for stir-frying the chicken and in the tempering adds richness and a creamy texture to the butter chicken, making it indulgent and flavorful.

How To Make Butter Chicken?

If you want to make a delicious butter chicken dish, then follow these simple steps for a flavorful experience.

  • Marinate the chicken pieces with ginger and garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, lemon juice, and butter for 30 minutes. This step is important as marination allows the flavors to infuse into the chicken, resulting in a rich and aromatic dish.
  • Saute the onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, spices, and cashews until they are tender. Then blend them into a smooth paste. This step is crucial as it creates the base for the butter chicken, providing a creamy and luscious texture.
  • Stir-fry the marinated chicken until golden brown. This step adds a delicious flavor and texture to the chicken, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  • Temper the whole spices in butter and saute the ground paste until the oil separates. This process releases the essential oils and flavors of the spices, creating a well-rounded and robust sauce for the butter chicken.
  • Add water, simmer, and cook until the gravy thickens. Lastly, add crushed fenugreek leaves and garnish with fresh coriander for an extra layer of flavor to the dish.

Follow these steps, and you'll have a mouthwatering butter chicken dish that will impress your family and friends!

Serving Suggestions

  • Pair with naan or rice: Butter chicken pairs perfectly with naan bread or steamed rice, making it a complete and satisfying meal.
  • Side of vegetable curry: Serve butter chicken with a side of vegetable curry, such as aloo gobi or saag aloo, for a balanced and flavorful meal.
  • Fresh salad: Balance the richness of butter chicken with a fresh and crisp salad, such as a cucumber and tomato salad, for added texture and freshness to the meal.
  • Raita: A side of raita, a refreshing yogurt-based condiment with cucumber and mint, complements the spiciness of butter chicken and adds a cooling element to the meal.
  • Pickles and chutneys: Add a pop of tangy and sweet flavors to the meal by serving it with a variety of pickles and chutneys, such as mango chutney or lime pickle.
  • Saffron rice: For an extra touch of elegance, serve butter chicken with fragrant saffron-infused rice, elevating the meal and adding a touch of luxury.

Tips for Making Delicious Butter Chicken

  • Preparation Duration:
    Marinating the chicken takes about 30 minutes, while the cooking process takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. It's important to plan ahead to ensure the flavors have enough time to develop.
  • Cooking Techniques:
    When stir-frying the chicken, make sure to cook it until it turns a light golden brown in color. This will help seal in the flavors and ensure the chicken is cooked to perfection.
  • Importance of Garnishing:
    Garnishing with fresh coriander leaves not only adds a pop of color to the dish but also enhances the overall presentation. It's the final touch that adds a burst of freshness to the butter chicken.
  • Blend it to Smooth Paste:
    When grinding the onion-tomato spice mixture, make sure to blend it to a smooth paste. This will ensure a rich and creamy texture for the butter chicken gravy.
  • Saute Until Oil Separates:
    After adding the ground paste to the pan, saute it until the oil separates from the masala. This step is crucial for bringing out the flavors of the spices and creating a well-balanced gravy.
  • Use Crushed Fenugreek Leaves:
    Adding crushed fenugreek leaves at the end of the cooking process enhances the aroma and flavor of the butter chicken. It's a small addition that makes a big difference in the final taste of the dish.

Variations for Butter Chicken Recipe

  • Spice Level: Experiment with the level of spiciness by adjusting the amount of red chili powder. For a milder flavor, reduce the amount or for a spicier kick, increase the quantity.
  • Meat Options: Instead of chicken, try using other meats like shrimp or paneer for a different twist on the classic butter chicken recipe.
  • Vegan Version: For a vegan version, substitute the chicken with tofu or vegetables like cauliflower or potatoes. Use plant-based butter and dairy-free cream for a creamy, dairy-free alternative.
  • Fresh Herbs: Enhance the flavor by adding fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, or basil to the dish for a fragrant and vibrant touch.
  • Nut-Free Option: If you have a nut allergy, omit the cashews from the recipe and replace with a few tablespoons of coconut cream for a creamy texture.
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve the butter chicken with different accompaniments like naan, rice, or quinoa to provide variety and cater to different preferences.

How to Store Butter Chicken

  • Storing Marinated Chicken: After marinating the chicken, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This keeps the flavors intact and prevents the chicken from spoiling.
  • Preserving Ground Paste: Store the ground paste in a glass jar with a tight lid in the refrigerator. This helps to maintain the freshness and flavors of the paste for a longer duration.
  • Keeping Spices Fresh: Store spices in airtight containers away from direct sunlight and heat. This helps to preserve the flavors and aroma of the spices for a longer period.
  • Storing Fresh Coriander Leaves: After washing and drying the coriander leaves, store them in a damp paper towel in the refrigerator. This keeps the leaves fresh and prevents wilting.
  • Preserving Fenugreek Leaves: Store dried fenugreek leaves in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This helps to retain the flavor and aroma of the fenugreek leaves.
  • Maintaining Freshness of Cashews: Store cashews in an airtight container in the refrigerator to prevent them from turning rancid. This ensures that the cashews remain fresh and flavorful.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for butter chicken?

  • Yes, you can definitely use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for this recipe. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as thighs may take a little longer to cook compared to breasts.

How can I make this recipe less spicy?

  • If you prefer a milder version of butter chicken, you can reduce the amount of red chili powder and garam masala powder in the recipe. You can also adjust the quantity of spices to suit your taste.

Can I make butter chicken without using butter?

  • While butter is a key ingredient in traditional butter chicken, you can definitely substitute it with ghee or even oil if you prefer. Keep in mind that using different fats may slightly alter the flavor of the dish.

Is it necessary to marinate the chicken before cooking?

  • Marinating the chicken helps to infuse it with flavor and tenderize the meat. However, if you are short on time, you can skip the marination step, but the flavor may not be as intense.

Can I make butter chicken ahead of time?

  • Yes, butter chicken actually tastes even better the next day as the flavors have time to meld together. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for a day or two.

What can I serve with butter chicken?

  • Butter chicken pairs well with naan, rice, or even simple roti. You can also serve it with a side of raita or a fresh salad to balance the richness of the dish.

Butter Chicken Masala 2017-10-25 05:25:33

Recipe Card

Butter Chicken

Serves 2    

Prep Time   00:35        

Cook Time   00:30        

Total Time   01:05         


For Marination

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (300 g), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 3/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter to stir fry
  • salt to taste          

To Grind

  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion (75 g), roughly chopped
  • 150g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • 8 nos whole cashews          

To Temper

  • 1 to 2 tbsp butter as per your taste (I used 1 tbsp of butter)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 bay leaves
  • 2 cardamom pods

Other Ingredients

  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
  • some fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnishing          


  • In a bowl, mix together the chicken pieces with the ingredients given under 'For Marination' until well coated and set aside for about 30 mins.
  • Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil, when oil heats up, add onion and saute until it turns translucent.
  • Then add ginger and garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, all spices and cashews, one by one and saute well until raw smell leaves and tomatoes turn tender.
  • Remove from the heat and cool it down and then place it in a blender, blend it to smooth paste and keep it aside.
  • Heat a pan with butter over medium heat, add marinated chicken pieces and stir-fry for 3 mins or until it turns into light golden brown in color and keeps it aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a separate pan with butter, add all the ingredients given under 'To Temper', saute until spluttering.
  • Further add the ground paste and saute until the oil separates from the masala over medium heat.
  • Then add the cooked chicken and give a good stir.
  • Add 1 cup of water, mix well and bring it to boil then reduce to the simmer, cover and cook until it becomes a thick gravy.
  • Also add 1 tsp of crushed fenugreek leaves and cook for another 1 minute.
  • Finally, sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves.         
  • By Santhi Therese    The Indian Claypot
  • https://theindianclaypot.com/
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