Murg Makhani aka Butter Chicken

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Looking through the pictures on my phone, I just realised I haven't shared the recipe for the Butter Chicken that I served with Butter Naan. So here it is.... You all know that a south-Indian restaurant is known for the kind of Sambar they serve; similarly, north-Indian restaurants are known for the kind of Murgh Makhani they serve. Every restaurant or home have their own version of Butter Chicken aka Murgh Makhani. And I don't think they taste same anywhere so it never left me craving for more. And because it is tagged as a rich food, it never occurred to make them at home until now.

Honestly, when I was trying the Naan for the second time, I wanted to serve it with some curry that we usually order if we were at a restaurant. And the first thing that came to my mind was Butter Chicken. Oh! I forgot to mention, we have a new restaurant opened up next door - Tandoori Nights! which made me want to try Butter Chicken at home. I mean why pay through nose for Indian food that we can make at home! :-P They charge 75 riyals for a Mutton Biryani that serves just one! :-(

updated image: 24th Nov 2016

Murg Makhani aka Butter Chicken

And yeah! I also started reading again! :-P I used feel so guilty for not making time to read which was practically me. Anyone will find me with a book anytime! Not-any-more! With the advent of Internet here, reading blogs took most of my time. So now, I have started to make time to read the history of food that I choose to cook. Did you know that Murgh Makhani was created during 1950's by Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi? That too while making staff food with leftovers tandoors? Some confuse Chicken Tikka with this and claim that this was found by a chef in the UK. But I like to believe it is Moti Mahal in Delhi that served it first and.... how did I miss this during my last visit???!!!! hoping to taste it sometime in future! In Sha Allah.

Murg Makhani aka Butter Chicken

But for now, I have adapted this recipe from Monish Gujral's blog. Yes, he is the custodian of the Moti Mahal brand and Managing Director of the Moti Mahal Delux Management Services. I have used almost same ingredients but the method is slightly different.

Murg Makhani | Butter Chicken


Marinate and roast:
500 grams chicken breasts
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon kasoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons of yoghurt
1 teaspoon oil
Salt to taste

For the gravy: (cook and blend)
2 tablespoon butter
2 green cardamom
1-inch cinnamon
2 cloves
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1-inch ginger, grated
5 to 8 garlic, grated
2 to 4 green chillies, slit
2 cups tomato puree (from 3 medium tomatoes)
1/2 tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder

Final additions for makhani:
1 cup water
5 to 8 almonds soaked and peeled and made into paste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kasoori methi
the prepared roasted chicken pieces
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
5 tablespoon cream (fresh or canned or heavy)

Coriander leaves to garnish


  1. Make deep cuts on the chicken pieces and marinate with the ingredients listed for marination and keep it refrigerated for 4 to 5 hours or even overnight. 
  1. Roast the marinated chicken in a  thick bottomed pan with some butter. Turn the pieces to roast all sides evenly. Do not dry roast as then the chicken will not get tender even when added to the sauce. So roast until lightly golden to brown on all sides and keep aside.
  1. Heat butter in a deep saucepan 
  2. Add the whole spices, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves and fry till fragrant 
  3. Add methi seeds and saute for few seconds
  4. Add grated ginger and grated garlic along with slit green chillies. Saute this mixture until the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone 
  5. Tip in the prepared tomato puree. red chilli powder, and a little salt. Cook this until you see oil separated. 
  6. Once cooled, add the content into a blender and blend it until smooth
  7. Return to sauce back to the pan and add a cup of water, almond paste and bring this to boil
  8. Reduce the flame to low and let the sauce simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes while stirring occasionally 
  9. Mix in the sugar, kasoori methi, and cooked chicken. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes
  10. Mix in the garam masala and cream. Let it cook for 5 minutes and switch off
  11. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with any kind of flatbreads like Naan, kulcha, or even plain chapatis. 
Murg Makhani aka Butter Chicken

In simple words, marinate, grill, cook in tomato based sauce that is rich with cream and butter. But what goes into the marination and the sauce is what makes it  Murg Makhani. I think what makes it stand out is not just the butter and cream but the dried fenugreek leaves aka Kasoori methi. I am kinda sure it would have tasted different if the chicken pieces were grilled in an oven instead of roasting on the pan but we loved this version and this satiates our cravings for rich Indian food without costing a bomb!

It is a total indulgence! chicken marinated in spices and yoghurt, roasted lightly in butter and then cooked until melting soft in tomato and cream sauce that is spiced with hot chillies and whole spices! Tear a piece of hot naan and scoop it in the silky chicken -yum - the perfect marriage!

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