Easy, authentic Indian Butter Chicken is possible to make at home!
Otherwise know as Chicken Makhani, Butter Chicken is probably my all-time favorite Indian dish. OK, maybe next to samosas! I love them both and lucky for me I’ve eaten my fair share of both!
What do I even know about Indian food?
Believe it or not, I actually grew up eating Indian food because of my sister. Her dad and his side of the family are from India so we ate at arguably some of the best Indian restaurants like the Bombay Palace in Washington D.C. and I got to experience meals cooked by relatives visiting from India.
Indian food was what spurred my taste buds to funally brand out from eating plain chicken all the time. I specifically remember eating cucumbers with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of Chat Masala spice and experiencing the joy of spicy food for the first time. (I’m still waiting for my own kids to acquire their appreciation for spice!)
Indian food is slowly gaining popularity in the U.S.
I find it surprising that Indian food is not more popular in the U.S. because the flavors are so rich and delicious. But let’s change that, shall we?!
With a few unique spices, you can create this very authentic Indian butter chicken recipe yourself. I’ll provide links to the spices so you can purchase them on Amazon or you may be able to find them at your local gourmet grocery store, or for sure at an Indian grocery store if you’re fortunate enough to have one near you.
What goes well with Indian Butter Chicken?
To make this into a full meal, you could serve the butter chicken over rice with sides of naan, aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) and cucumbers in lemon juice and chat masala.
As an appetizer I love the pre-made, frozen samosas with mint chutney for dipping. The brand I’ve tried and really like is Tandoor Chef but there might be other good ones too.
You can also make your own using puff pastry dough. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live near an Indian grocery store, sometimes you can get samosa made fresh. Drool!
A fun fact about authentic Indian dining: not utensils are required!
Traditional Indian cuisine is eaten using your right hand, no utensils! Learn more about traditional Indian dining here.
Because not every has all sorts of free time…
The recipe below is adapted from Swasthi’s Recipes. I’ve simplified the cooking process so it’s very easy to follow and is simplified. There is a long list of ingredients so that is the only hard part —gathering the ingredients. However these spices are key to achieving authentic Indian flavor. And once you have a collection of Indian spices, they’ll last you awhile.
Want to explore other easy Indian recipes?
This recipe for authentic Indian Butter Chicken was featured on Menu Plan Monday.
Easy Authentic Indian Butter Chicken
- 4 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces, placed in large ziploack bag
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup butter
- ½ onion diced
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 green chili diced I used a jalapeno since my store doesn't carry green chilis
- ½ tsp minced ginger or ginger powder
- Dash cinnamon
- Dash ground cloves or two whole cloves and remove them later
- Dash cardamom
- Dash coriander
- ½ tsp ground fenugreek leaves
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 ¾ cup tomato puree make your own or use canned/jarred
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ¼ cup cashew butter
- ½ tbsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ milk
- White rice
- In a large ziplock bag, marinate chicken pieces in lemon juice, chili power and salt. Refrigerate for 15-20 mins. Add the overnight marinade ingredients and refrigerate overnight (or a minimum of 45 minutes if you don't have time).
- To cook the chicken: Melt butter in a large pot (I used my dutch oven) and add onion, garlic, green chili (or jalapeño) and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, corriander, fenugreek leaves and garam masala then add chicken, marinade and all. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 10-15 minutes or so depending on the size of your chunks of chicken.
- Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, stir in tomato puree, chili powder, cashew butter, sugar, salt, cream and milk. Simmer for about 5 minutes then serve over rice with a side of warm naan.