The Big Boys Curry Book

Murgh Makhani, Butter Chicken

New Years party at Muthoot Plaza hotel, Trivandrum

Butter chicken is a restaurant classic, originating in Delhi. It is based on using up the remains of the tandoori marinade. This recipe is a domesticated version and is stunning. Serve simply with nan breads. For 4 people. I have made this for 80 people at a time, and in which case you need to reduce the amount of chillies and liquid to retain the shape of the dish.


  • 1kg chicken on or off bone as preferred. Cut chicken into manageable chunks.


  • 2 cups good quality yoghurt
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • 1/2 inch fresh, chopped.
  • 1 tsp mild red chilli powder (kashmiri)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cummin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala - Hot Spice blend
  • pinch tandoori food colour
  • 1/2 lime juice


  1. Puree all the marinade ingredients together.
  2. Remove skin from chicken and score the flesh. Marinade in yoghurt mixture for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
  3. Remove skins from tomatoes (place in hot water to enable this). Pulp the tomatoes.
  4. Heat oil in thick pan and cook chicken, covered, with its marinade slowly until just cooked.
  5. Add tomato pulp and cook for 5 or so minutes until thickened slightly
  6. Add butter, chilli powder, ginger and garlic puree and heat through gently until butter has melted. Do not cook butter.
  7. Add fenugreek powder, garam masala and salt and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add cream and stir through for 1 minute. Check seasoning. Serve immediately

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