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Murgh Makhani - Butter Chicken

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Being from a Punjabi household in India, this is one of my family's staples and favourites. I have had Murgh Makhani, which literally translates to buttery chicken, at many a places across India but in my opinion, no one gets it better than my mother! Often it is misunderstood has having a lot of butter content. But the name is meant to signify that it has a smooth, butter like consistency. The gravy is light but utterly flavourful and very easy to make unlike common perception. If you are a fan of Indian cuisine then you do not want to miss this! Here's my mom's recipe in all it's originality.


Serves: 4-5

  • 2 pounds chicken pieces
  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2½ teaspoons cardamom powder
  • 2 teaspoons red chile powder
  • 1 cup hung curd
  • 12 large tomatoes (ripe)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 20 medium unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cream (optional)


Murgh Makhani - Butter Chicken is a community recipe submitted by pearlsingh and has not been tested by so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe.

  • Marinade the the chicken in hung curd, 1.5 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp cardamom powder, 1.5 tsp red chili powder and set aside for as much time as you can.
  • Now for the gravy, blanch the tomatoes by cutting little 'X's at the base of the tomatoes and immersing them in boiling water. When the skin pulls away, take them out of the boiling water, let cool and peel off the skin. Now grind the tomatoes in a processor to a purée and pass it through a sieve. Throw away any seeds or unwanted chunks that may come on the strainer.
  • To cook the chicken, place the pieces on a baking sheet, along with all the marinade and put them in an oven at 190ºC. Bake until they are, but almost cooked.
  • Heat a thick bottomed pan and add 2 tbsp of butter to it. When it has melted add 2 tsp of garlic paste and stir for a minute. Now add the puréed tomatoes. Let it come to a boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the chicken along with the marinade to the pan and stir for a few minutes.
  • Grind the cashew nuts and the milk to a fine paste and add it to the chicken.
  • Add the rest of the salt, red chile powder, cardamom powder and also 1tsp of garam masala (a mis of spices easily available at supermarkets) , 2tsp of ground fenugreek. Taste the gravy and add any spices if you want more. A little water or chicken stock can be be added to make the gravy thinner if you think the consistency is too thick (ideally it should be a thinnish paste).
  • A little fresh cream can be added for richness. But you can leave it outentirely.
  • Serve with fresh hot naan or on a bed of steamed rice.
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