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Butter Chicken (Better than restaurant)

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Sarah – Butter Chicken (better than restaurant)- one of the most popular South Asian dishes to date – has cemented its position amongst Westerners as a classic, go-to entree when thinking of South Asian food. Its flavorful, iridescent curry is quite distinct from other curries in the realm of South Asian cuisine. Imagine a dreamy concoction of butter and oil mixed together with smoked marinated chicken and a cornucopia of other ingredients. Butter Chicken, made with juicy chicken thighs, is wrapped in a delicious homemade masala and a creamy, buttery tomato-based sauce. Served with its notorious accomplices, including freshly cooked basmati rice and naan, it is sure to evoke the heartiest of compliments and satiate even the most persnickety appetites!  

Butter Chicken

WHAT IS BUTTER CHICKEN?

Butter Chicken, without doubt the most popular curry across all of South Asia, is a rich, creamy, and flavorful curry of chicken engorged in a spiced tomato, cream, and butter sauce. The tomato-based curry is not only popularized in the West, but is a beloved staple within South Asia as well. There are few components to cooking the best Butter Chicken: firstly, you have to make the most-delicious masala by dry roasting South Asian spices and grinding it until it’s in powder form.  Next comes the marination and smoking step, after which the gravy is made. Interestingly, after coming up with and perfecting this recipe, I’ve ceased ordering the dish at restaurants since I’m confident my tried-and-tested recipe breaks the curry-based mold in a very positive, delectable manner.

process 7

BUTTER CHICKEN VS CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

There is a widespread, common misconception that Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are one and the same. However, Butter Chicken finds its roots in Northern India and Chicken Tikka Masala was borne in England! Butter Chicken is creamier as compared to Chicken Tikka Masala, and it holds a strikingly orange color whereas Chicken Tikka Masala is typically red. While mistaken to be the same, they are, quite literally, from different ends of the world.

Flat lay shot

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST BUTTER CHICKEN

  • Always smoke the chicken before its resting time.
  • Always marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours upto overnight in refrigerator.
  • I always recommend using chicken thighs instead of chicken tenderloins or breast. Chicken breast in more dry and chicken tenderloins have less flavor and are also dry as compared to chicken thighs. Plus, it will give your curry a weird, undesirable texture.
  • Always use the dry whole byadgi instead of dried long chili pepper because byadgi is less spicy, a suitable combination for Butter Chicken.

ingredient picture

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PERFECT BUTTER CHICKEN MASALA

  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 6 cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp mace (Javitri)
  • 1/8 piece nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 dry whole byadgi (dry red chillies)
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp salt

making the masala picture

HOW TO PREPARE SMOKE AND MARINATION

  • In a bowl, add chicken, oil, ginger-garlic paste, vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, and the butter chicken masala that you made.
  • Now burn the coal on the stove, place the burned coal by using a steel tong in a steel bowl.
  • Place the bowl on the chicken. pour 1 tbsp oil on the hot coal and quickly cover the lid to let the smoke make its way around the chicken.
  • After 2-3 minutes, remove the cover from the chicken and take out the steel bowl and discard the coal.
  • Cover the chicken with the lid and refrigerate it for 2 hours or overnight.

the powder butter chicken masala shot

HOW TO PREPARE THE GRAVY

  • In a medium-sized pot, on medium heat, turn on the stove let it get hot.
  • Now add in 2 tbsp butter and let it melt.
  • After it’s melted add in 2 tbsp oil.
  • Next add the marniated chicken and toss it around pot until the chicken changes its color.
  • Now add in tomato paste and mix it well with the chicken.
  • Now add 2 tbsp of the butter chicken masala, 1½ tsp salt and 1 tsp red chili powder.
  • Mix well and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and mix well.
  • Now cover and let it cook on medium low for 10-15 minutes or until the oil separates.
  • Next add honey and mix well.
  • Uncover the pot and garnish with some butter, heavy whipping cream and dried kasuri methi.

marinated chicken shot process shot 2process shot 3process shot 4process shot 5process shot 6

As mentioned above, this immaculate Homemade Butter Chicken recipe has muffled my desire to order the dish from a restaurant. Other recipes which I’ve experienced a similar feeling with due to my generations-passed and tried-and-true recipes are: Authentic Chicken Biryani, Paya Curry (Mutton Trotters), and Authentic Mutton Karahi (Karahi Gosht). If you have any questions about our recipes or techniques, recipe requests, or if you just want to say hi, please feel free to message us and, as always, if you try any of our recipes be sure to tag us on Instagram @twoclovesinapot. Find us on Pinterest too, @twoclovesinapot. Please subscribe to our newsletter. We value honest feedback.

process 7 butter chicken

LET’S MAKE BUTTER CHICKEN (BETTER THAN ANY RESTAURANT)

 

Butter Chicken
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5 from 3 votes

Butter Chicken (Better than any restaurant)

Butter Chicken is a super popular South Asian dish made with tender chicken thighs wrapped in a delicious homemade masala, creamy, buttery tomato based sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Keyword: authentic chicken butter, butter chicken, chicken makani, chicken makini, creamy butter chicken recipe, creamy chicken makini, homemade butter chicken masala, indian butter chicken, pakistani butter chicken
Calories: 462kcal
Author: Sarah Mirza

Ingredients

Butter Chicken Masala

  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ piece javitri mace
  • piece netmug
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 dry whole byadgi
  • 2 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Marination and Smoke

  • 2 lbs chicken thigh ½-1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp pure lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter chicken masala that you just made
  • 1 tbsp full fat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp oilve oil extra virgin

Gravy

  • 4 tbsp sweet salted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • marinated chicken
  • salt or as needed
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • 6 ounce tomato paste
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp honey

Garnish

  • 1 tsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp dried kasuri methi
  • 2 tbsp sweet salted butter

Instructions

Butter Chicken Masala

  • In a spice grinder, add cinnamon, green cardamom, star anise, black cardamoms, cloves, black peppercorn, cumin seeds, bay leaf, javitri, netmeg, coriander seeds, and chili whole byadgi.
  • Lightly dry roast the spices in a fry pan on medium heat.
  • Grind all until all the whole spices that you added become powder form.
  • Now add salt, red chili powder, tumeric powder, and garam masala powder.
  • Mix everything all together.

Smoke And Marination

  • In a bowl, add chicken, oil, ginger garlic paste, vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, and the butter chicken masala that you made.
  • Now burn the coal on the stove, place the burned or hot coal by using a steel tong in a steel bowl.
  • Place the bowl on the chicken. pour 1 tbsp oil on the coal and quickly cover the lid let the smoke makes its way around the chicken.
  • After 2-3 minutes remove the cover from the chicken and take out the steel bowl and discard the coal.
  • Cover the chicken with the lid and refrigerate it for 2 hour or overnight.

Gravy

  • In a medium pot, on medium heat, turn on the stove let it get hot.
  • Now add in 2 tbsp butter and let it melt.
  • After it's melted add in 2 tbsp oil.
  • Next add the marniated chicken and toss it around pot until the chicken changes its color.
  • Now add in tomato paste and mix it well with the chicken.
  • Now add 2 tbsp of the butter chicken masala, 1½ tsp salt and 1 tsp red chili powder.
  • Mix well and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and mix well.
  • Now cover and let it cook on medium low for 10-15 minutes or until the oil separates.
  • Next add honey and mix well.
  • Uncover the pot and garnish with some heavy whipping cream, dried kasuri methi, and butter at top.
  • Enjoy it with naan or white rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 462kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 170g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 557mg | Potassium: 448mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 697mg | Iron: 2mg
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Asma Rafiq
Asma Rafiq
1 month ago

5 stars
Ufffff this is the best butter chicken I have ever had! The spices and technique is amazing. Must try!

Katie Khan
Katie Khan
1 month ago

5 stars
hands down the best butter chicken recipe.

Alley
Alley
1 month ago

5 stars
My first butter chicken recipe and it was amazing! Can’t go wrong…delish! Thank you for sharing!

Katharine Eppolito
Katharine Eppolito
23 days ago

I want to try this recipe this weekend. I’m the picture, it looks like you dry roast the whole spices before grinding, but I don’t see any mention of that in the directions. Should I roast them or not?

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