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Indian Butter Chicken

Posted by Navita Verma on

A tomato-based buttery gravy with an exotic spice mix that is delectable and has a smooth rich texture.

2.5 hours

1 hour



Prep Time

Cook Time



What You’ll Need:

  • Whisk

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Heavy bottom Large Non-stick pan
  • Pressure cooker
  • Muslin cloth
  • Thread
  • Blender
  • Spice Grinder (optional)


  • ¾ cup Salted butter
  • 1 lb boneless and de skinned chicken breast/thighs
  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch ginger
  • 1tsp green cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 almonds soaked and peeled
  • 20 cashew nuts
  • ¾ cup hung yogurt/ thick greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 8-10 Roma plum tomatoes
  • 4 red onions
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt (to taste)

Prep Instructions:

  1. In a muslin cloth, hang the yogurt for 2 hours and let all the water drain off. 
  2. Wash and cut the chicken into medium pieces.
  3. Marinate the chicken with red chili powder, garlic paste, ginger paste, lemon juice, and salt. Coat the dry ingredients and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, dry roast 4 black peppercorns, 3 cloves, 1-inch cinnamon,1 bay leaf, and almonds till fragrant. Cool and grind into a coarse powder.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine hung yogurt, freshly ground spices, cardamom powder, cumin powder, and ½ tsp turmeric powder.
  6. Whisk together to form a smooth paste.
  7. After an hour, add the yogurt mixture to the already marinated chicken, and set aside for another hour. 
  8. While the chicken rests, roughly chop the tomatoes and onions.
  9. Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic cloves, cashew nuts, dried fenugreek leaves, honey, ½ inch ginger, 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and ½ cup of butter in a pressure cooker.
  10. Take another piece of muslin cloth, add the remaining bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon. Tie and seal using thread into a little bundle (potli).
  11. Place this little bundle (potli) into the pressure cooker, and in this add 1 cup of milk. 
  12. Cover and cook for 25-30 mins on low to medium flame. Add a little water if needed. Cool this mixture for 15 minutes.
  13. After the tomatoes are all cooked, discard the potli and grind into a smooth paste.
  14. In a non-stick large pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil on a medium to high flame. To this add the marinated chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
  15. Lower the flame to medium, and add the pureed gravy to the chicken and stir.
  16. Bring the gravy to a boil and lower the flame, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  17. Finish the butter chicken gravy with ¼ cup of butter and 1/2 cup heavy cream.

Enjoy butter chicken with either jeera rice or naan. 

Note: This marinating process can also be done a day prior for better flavors.


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