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Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani

Butter chicken or murgh makhani is an authentic and flavourful recipe in Indian cuisine where tandoori chicken is cooked in a rich creamy tomato based gravy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main/Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 to 6
Author: Padma


  • To saute and puree:
  • 2 Tablespoons oil or 1 Tablespoon each oil and butter
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 1 to 2 cardamoms
  • Little bit mace
  • 2 medium sized Onions diced
  • 3 to 4 Tomatoes diced
  • 2 Green Chillies broken into two halves
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 to 10 cashews
  • 5 to 8 Almonds optional
  • For Gravy:
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • The puree prepared
  • 2 cooked tandoori chicken thighs Check here for the recipe, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ¼ Kasoori methi / Dried fenugreek leaves optional
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped Coriander for garnish


  • Heat oil (or oil and butter) in a skillet over medium heat, add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and mace. Sauté till you get a nice aroma.
  • Add chopped onions and sauté till translucent. Now add tomatoes, cook it in medium heat till it become soft and pulp with bright red colour.
  • To this add ginger garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Now add red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, cashews and almonds(if including). Stir for a minute and turn off the heat.
  • Once the mixture cools down, puree it.
  • For the gravy, heat butter in a pan (you can use the same pan), add the puree from the above step.
  • Strain the tomato puree directly to the butter mixture and mix well. Discard the reduce from the tomato puree.
  • Sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes on low heat till the raw smell disappears from the gravy.
  • Add cooked tandoori chicken pieces to the gravy and cook it for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Adjust consistency with water to suit your requirement and give it a boil.
  • Add cream, garam masala, sugar or honey and cook for a minute.
  • Finally add crushed fenugreek leaves and mix it. This step is optional.
  • Turn off the heat and transfer to serving bowl.
  • Garnish with finely chopped coriander and serve with butter naan, roti, paratha or any Indian breads.


1. Adjust spice levels to suit your taste buds.
2. Keep in mind that the Tandoori chicken also has spices and salt, so add your spices and salt accordingly.
3. If you really want to get that restaurant red colour, go ahead and add some food colour but I don’t prefer adding it.
4. Addition of sugar or honey balances salty, sour and acidic flavours.
5. Quantities of butter and cream are purely optional. You can even skip them and it still taste’s great, trust me!!
6. The prep time does not include preparing tandoori chicken.