Recipe: Butter Chicken : The Gastronomical Delight of India

Butter Chicken can be easily called the National Dish of India as far as non vegetarian cuisine goes. Sinfully laced with oodles of butter, rich cream, thick tomato gravy and spices, this Indian gastronomical delight is extremely popular all over the country and even abroad.

Butter chicken was “invented” at the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi in the 1950’s.

Tandoori chicken, cooked in famous tandoors (clay ovens embedded in earth) brought to Delhi and other cities by Hindu refugees fleeing from the Northwest Punjab after the creation of West Pakistan, is the main ingredient of this dish. Butter chicken is actually made with leftover tandoori chicken, cut into small pieces, and simmered in a rich, creamy sauce of tomatoes, butter and spices topped up with extra cream.

Being a hotelier’s wife I have some advantages and this is a personal recipe for this mouthwatering delicacy.


For the Marinade:

800 grams of chicken cut into pieces (preferably boneless)

1 tablespoon thick yogurt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin and red chili powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ginger, garlic paste

Salt to taste

A few drops of edible orange-red color

For the Gravy

4 large tomatoes chopped [blanched and finely chopped]

1 onion finely chopped

1/2 cup cashew nut paste

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 green chilies finely chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh cream

1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin, red chili powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

Salt and sugar to taste

Melted butter, fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing


Prick holes and make cuts in the chicken pieces. Mix well the ingredients for the marinade and rub into the chicken pieces. Let it marinate for a few hours, overnight if possible for best results.

Heat half the butter on medium level in a heavy-bottomed pan and put in the chicken along with the marinade. Cover and cook for about 25 minute(s) or till the chicken is fully cooked. After the liquids have evaporated, stir fry the chicken for some time in the residual fat.

For gravy

Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan and add onion and green chilies. Fry for a few minutes.

Add the ginger garlic paste mix well now add little water and red chilly, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder mix well

Add chopped tomatoes and cook well now add cashew nut paste and season with sugar, salt and cook uncovered on medium level for about 5 minutes till the puree thickens and the fat separates.

Stir in the beaten cream and reduce the heat to low.

Add the chicken Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the curry is thoroughly heated through.

Check for seasoning.

Just before serving pour melted butter over the curry. Garnish with a swirl of fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Enjoy with fresh rice or Parathas (Fried Indian flat bread)


2 thoughts on “Recipe: Butter Chicken : The Gastronomical Delight of India

  1. though I have turned a pure vegetarian; my mouth is watering (at this hour!)..I will pass on the recipe to my mother in law..she will love it 🙂


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