Butter Chicken, Not For Dieters


As I said in my previous post, I made butter masala. Since the man is a vegetarian, I made two dishes: Butter paneer and butter chicken. This is the recipe for butter chicken. It is pretty much the same, except with just a slight variation. Also, to make my life easier, I bought a roasted chicken from the market and took the skin off and pulled it into bite sized pieces.


  • chicken thighs, 4, bite sized pieces (you can use breast, but thighs taste much better, and don’t dry out)
  • Butter, 1/2 stick
  • onion, 1 large, chopped
  • ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp + 1tsp(you can also use chopped ginger and fresh garlic)
  • green chilis, 1 chopped
  • tomatoes, 2 chopped, or 1/2 large can (not regular size) of tomato puree or diced tomatoes
  • cumin seeds, 1 tsp
  • coriander seeds, 1 tsp
  • cashews, 5 whole (I didn’t have any cashews so I used almonds)
  • kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) 1 tbsp rubbed by hand
  • coriander powder, 1 heaping tsp+1 tsp
  • red chili powder, 3/4 tsp+1/4 tsp
  • salt, to taste
  • sugar, 1 tsp
  • ketchup, 2 tsp, optional
  • cream, 1/4 cup
  • garam masala, 1/2 tsp
  • oil, 3 tbsp
  • water, 1 cup plus more for thinning

To Make:

In a bowl, add raw chicken along with 3/4 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp coriander powder and 1 tsp ginger garlic paste. Mix together. In a pan, add oil and pan fry chicken till golden, but not completely cooked. Remove chicken from pan leaving oil, and set chicken in another bowl.

In the same pan, add coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Once those crackle add onions and  ginger garlic paste and stir. Add 1 cup water and bring to a slight boil. Add tomatoes, coriander powder, red chili powder, green chilis, cashews, and kasoori methi. Stir and cover. Simmer on low for 15 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked very soft. Let cool, then blend in a blender until smooth.

Using same pot, add butter. Once it melts add the sauce. Also add sugar and salt. If desired, add ketchup. This will give it somewhat of a tang. Add enough water to thin it out, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Add chicken. If there are juices, add the juice first.  Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked. This is also when you would add roasted chicken, if doing it that way. Add cream and garam masala. It is now ready to eat. Yum!

For the paneer butter masala, click here

Serve with warm naan or rice, or both!


2 responses to “Butter Chicken, Not For Dieters

  1. So you make yours with cashews – I think I will try that next time. I do not know what fenugreek leaves are – next time I will see if I can purchase them. There are so many different variations on this recipe – do different regions of India have a different variation of this recipe?

    • Yeah, I use cashews, but not too many. If you use too many cashews it will ruin the sauce. Well, I would say butter chicken is more found in the northern part of India. Once you get to the south you will find more rice and more foods cooked with coconut and fish. So it’s not that there are variations, per say, it’s just that different regions of India have different foods. Just like Gujarat has a more sweet food, because they add sugar in most recipes. But all in all, variations will change from home to home, not just region to region. Does that make sense?

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