Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) is one of the most popular curries in the world and yet happens to be one of the easiest! No hunting down hard to find ingredients, this is a Chef recipe that makes the most incredible curry sauce.

The chicken is incredibly tender and injected with flavour from a yogurt marinade, and the Butter Chicken sauce is so ridiculously delicious, you’ll want it on tap!




    ▢ 1/2 cup plain yoghurt , full fat

    ▢ 1 tbsp lemon juice

    ▢ 1 tsp tumeric powder

    ▢ 2 tsp garam masala (Note 1)

    ▢ 1/2 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper powder (Note 2)

    ▢ 1 tsp ground cumin

    ▢ 1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated

    ▢ 2 cloves garlic, crushed

    ▢ 1.5 lb / 750 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces



▢ 2 tbsp (30 g) ghee or butter, OR 1 tbsp vegetable oil (Note 3)

▢ 1 cup tomato passata (aka tomato puree) (Note 4)

▢ 1 cup heavy / thickened cream (Note 5)

▢ 1 tbsp sugar

▢ 1 1/4 tsp salt

To serve – choose

▢ Basmati rice

▢ White rice

▢ Coriander/cilantro (optional)


  1. Optional blitz: for an extra smooth sauce, combine the Marinade ingredients (except the chicken) in a food processor and blend until smooth. (I do not do this)
  2. Marinade: Combine the Marinade ingredients with the chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours (minimum 3 hrs).
  3. Cook chicken: Heat the ghee (butter or oil) over high heat in a large fry pan. Take the chicken out of the Marinade but do not wipe or shake off the marinade from the chicken (but don’t pour the Marinade left in the bowl into the fry pan). 
  4. Place chicken in the fry pan and cook for around 3 minutes, or until the chicken is white all over (it doesn’t really brown because of the Marinade).
  5. Sauce: Add the tomato passata, cream, sugar and salt. Turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Do a taste test to see if it needs more salt.
  6. Garnish with coriander/cilantro leaves if using. Serve with basmati rice.
  7. The Butter Chicken is pictured with my very easy No Yeast Flatbread and no-fry papadums (Note 5).

Recipe Notes:

  1. Garam Masala is a spice mix that is readily available at supermarkets nowadays. You will find it in the spice section and it costs around the same as other spices.
  2. Pure chilli powder – This is not chili powder as Americans know it! American Chili Powder contains things other than ground dried chili. Use pure chili powder or cayenne pepper to add a spice kick. The spiciness is very mild.
  3. Ghee is a clarified butter used in Indian cooking (see this Movie Popcorn Butter recipe for more info). For this recipe, it can be substituted with butter or almost any neutral flavoured cooking oil.
  4. Tomato passata is pureed tinned tomatoes. Nowadays it is readily available in supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces.
  1. For a lighter version, use OR for a lighter version use 3/4 cup light cream + 1/4 cup milk (full fat or low fat)
  2. No Fry Quick Papadums – Place store bought raw papadums (which are really cheap – around $1 for a packet) in the microwave on the edge of the turntable. Then microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until puffed up. They will crisp up when they cool.
  3. Adapted from a recipe by Luke Mangan, an Australian chef and restaurateur. The only adjustments I made was to add salt (I am sure it was inadvertently omitted from his recipe) and providing the lighter option for the cream.