Menu Banner

Wednesday, March 24

Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

EmailPinterest238Facebook50Twitter1Google+0StumbleUpon86

I am over the moon for today’s recipe murgh makhani, more commonly known as butter chicken. Our favorite Indian restaurant in Palo Alto, Darbar Indian Cuisine, has the BEST butter chicken. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve been trying to find a recipe so that I can make it at home, but all recipes have come up far too short. So, I did a lot of research, compared about 6 different recipes and have created my own. And I am here to tell you (in all humility, of course!), I nailed it. My version isn’t identical to Darbar’s, but it is darn close and they are equally as good. Success! (To add to the elation, both girls inhaled their dinner! This is a not-too-hot Indian dish, nice for kids. Increase the heat with more chilis and cayenne if you so desire!)

indian butter chicken 1 web

The key to this dish is using tandoori chicken. Almost all of the recipes I found were skillet recipes that simply add plain chicken breasts to the sauce. Using tandoori chicken makes ALL the difference. A delectable, mouthwatering difference. Not only is there more depth to the flavor, but the meat is oh so tender. Using tandoori chicken requires planning ahead, but it’s worth it.

Without further ado, I give you murgh makhani!

Note: This recipe does not have fenugreek because I did not have it on hand. Fenugreek is often used in butter chicken, along with all the other spices listed below. Feel free to add that in as well!

Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
 
Mouthwatering with tons of flavor! Adapted from a recipe on About.com – this is a good American kitchen adaptation that doesn’t require a tandoor (clay oven) and works perfect for cooking tandoori chicken to go in a sauce
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
Cuisine: Indian
Ingredients
  • Tandoori Chicken:
  • ¾ C plain yogurt
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (I use my garlic press)
  • ~1 inch ginger root, peeled and crushed (it was hard to crush, I squeezed the juice out with my garlic press and threw in some of the mangled pieces of the root)
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (this is the amount you’ll need for the butter chicken sauce below – you can make this recipe with bone-in, skinless, dark & white meat chicken cut into pieces – my personal preference are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they worked great)
  • 1-2 T canola oil
  • Butter Chicken Sauce:
  • Adapted from 6 different recipes! Katie from GoodLifeEats and this YouTube video deserve a special shout out!
  • (no need to carefully chop these ingredients, you’re going to blend them eventually)
  • ⅓ sweet onion, chopped
  • ~1 inch of ginger root, peeled and julienned
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 green chili (membranes and seeds removed), chopped
  • 6 T butter (divided – 2 T and 4 T)
  • 6 medium tomatoes, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. coriander
  • 2 shakes cinnamon
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie broth
  • ½ C cream
  • 4 cooked tandoori chicken breasts (above) cut into chunks
Instructions
  1. The night before you want to make butter chicken, mix the above ingredients (except the chicken) in a bowl. Take the chicken breasts and stab them a bunch with a fork, then make some gashes with a sharp knife. This part is fun, especially if you have some frustration to vent. ;) Marinate the mutilated chicken in the yogurt mixture overnight and until you’re ready to cook the next day.
  2. To cook the chicken, pat off some of the marinade, brush with oil and place in a pan (I used my 9X13 metal pan). Roast in a 450 oven for about 20 minutes, or until juices run clear. Let cool a bit then cut into chunks.
  3. To make the sauce, sautee onion, ginger, garlic and green chili in butter until onions are translucent.
  4. Add tomatoes and let simmer for ~5 minutes. Add spices (garam masala, chili powder, cumin, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon) and simmer another 5-10 minutes or so. Add tomato paste and broth, stir. Blend everything in a blender until smooth then return to pan. Add tandoori chicken, cream and butter.
  5. Serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Yum!

tandoori chicken prep web

 

tandoori chicken baking web

 

butter chicken sautee web

 

butter chicken final steps webindian butter chicken 2 web

EmailPinterest238Facebook50Twitter1Google+0StumbleUpon86

41 Comments »

  1. 1
    Amanda

    This is so interesting… beautiful pics!

  2. 2
    AmandaB

    Wow, this looks insanely good!! I am definitely going to try this. We are huge fans of Indian food and if we can get my son on board with this dish, then we have a winner! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh, oh, oh! I LOVE Indian food and would love to make it myself. Thanks for the fabulous recipe.

  4. 4
    Amanda

    Mmmmmmmm! I LOVE Darbar! I’ll have to try this.

  5. 5
    collette

    It looks great Jane…sigh…but it’s baseball season which means it probably won’t happen in my near future.

  6. 6
    Linn

    Holy Batman that looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  7. 7
    Katie

    Oh Jane Jane Jane. I think I love you. I used to order a dish like this at my favorite Afghan Kebab House in New York City, back in the day. I can’t wait to try it!

  8. 8
    Margot

    Love the way it looks on the plate! This is a type of food I’ve never tried before. I’ve always shied away from Indian cuisine because I dislike the spice Americans call curry so much. I am coming to realize that ‘curry’ in Indian cooking does not always = use of curry powder. So I may just have to broaden my horizons and try a few Indian dishes. Thanks for the idea.

  9. it’s interesting you should mention curry – my friend lived in India for several years and she was just talking about there isn’t curry spice in Indian food, despite what people commonly think. go for the plunge! the foods are still very spicy in that they have so many different spices and flavors, but I really like that…and it’s not curry! :)

  10. 10
    Nabeela

    As an Indian, I thought I’d chime in too :)
    There is indeed no such thing as curry powder in India….Indians use a different combinations of spices to make different salan(or curries as they are commonly called). And Jane is right about murgh makahni tasting better with tandoori chicken. Try bbq’ed chicken in a pinch..that works too!

  11. phew, I’m SO relieved that I shared all the right info! Thanks, Nabeela! So happy you commented!

  12. 12
    chris

    Do you buy garam masala at the grocery store, or did you have to go to a specialty shop

  13. 13
    Jane Maynard

    I think it’s pretty widely available. I haven’t looked at my local Safeway (the run-of-the-mill grocery store) because we have a Penzey’s in town, which is where I purchased mine. If you can’t find it, there are “recipes” online to mix your own garam masala…but I have to say, I like the one that I bought much better than the one I mixed myself.

    You can buy Penzey’s spices online – here is the link for garam masala. I love Penzey’s spices. http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysgarammasala.html

  14. 14
    Allison

    This looks so delicious. Was it horribly time consuming? I miss having Indian food, and this sounds so so good.

  15. 15
    Jane Maynard

    it was more time consuming than what I normally do, for sure…but it was worth it. :) I’m the laziest cook around, so that’s saying something!

  16. Mmmm this looks very good. Congratulations in nailing butter chicken. The best one I have cooked so far is Deeba’s from Passionate About Baking. It is so good to nail complex dishes from foreign lands.

  17. 17
    Gudrun

    this is so funny! We went out last night for Indian food, and my son’s favorite dish is Makhani and he actually asked me if we could make it at home. Now, I can tell him that is completely possible, thanks!

  18. 18
    Jane Maynard

    that is funny! :) glad I figured this out, then! ;)

  19. Made this for dinner tonight. Was a huge hit with everyone. Thanks!

  20. 20
    mrsptb

    I just made this with my own few substitutions and my pretend Tandoori chicken. My husband likes it hot, so I nearly doubled most spices for the chicken. It turned out INCREDIBLE! He won’t stop talking about it!

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. 21
    Lisa

    Gorgeous! I love your site, and can’t wait to make this. I have found a great way to deal with fresh ginger (can’t remember where I read it…). I peel it with a spoon and use my microplaner thingamabob to “grate” it very finely right into the pan. make sure to scrape the back of it off into the pan too. It catches all the juice and is finely grated easily and quickly.

  22. 22
    Holly

    What kind of green chili do you use? Would a jalepeno or serrano pepper be an appropriate sub? Thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it.

  23. 23
    Ro

    New to your site, Jane. But I love it already! I made this chicken over the weekend and invited some friends over for dinner. They couldn’t stop raving. I made Alton Brown’s (food network) indian rice pudding (which was also delicious) and some trader joe’s naan. Splendid, splendid, meal! Two notes: 1-I used penderi’s (similar to penzey’s) tandoori spice mix, which made things easier 2-this recipe is spicy! I added extra cream, but wish I had used less chili powder instead. Still, the guys raved!! Just the gals thought it was a bit hot. Thank you Jane!!!!

  24. 24
    Ro

    Oh yeah, when I said it was hot…I forgot to mention that I did substitute jalepeno for green chili pepper. So this intensified the heat, I’m sure! But, I couldn’t find green chili peppers…

  25. 25
    Jane Maynard

    I just noticed I never responded to Holly’s comment…so, let me take care of that first! here’s the chiles I used http://www.foodsubs.com/Chilefre.html

    Ro – I’m so delighted that you found the site and that the recipe was such a success! This recipe is definitely one of my babies…I’m always happy when it turns out for people and they enjoy it! even with that spicy jalapeno in there! ;)

  26. 26
    Jane Maynard

    oh, and I may have to try Alton Brown’s indian rice pudding! I’m sure I can find it, but if you have the link, feel free to share! :)

  27. 27
    Emily

    Made this last week for friends and it was amazing! I blogged a little about it too and gave you credit. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  28. 28
    Brett

    Hi this looks like a delicious recipe and I am starting to marinate the chicken tonight. When i saw green chilli I immediately thought jalapeno however now i beleive that is incorrect. Would a jalapeno still work or which chilli is the correct one? The link in the comments has many chillis on the page.

    Thanks

    • Jane Maynard

      you’re right, that page does have a lot of chilis on it! sorry about that, I obviously didn’t scroll down at all when I linked to it. I’m 99.9999999% sure the green chili I used is the top one, Anaheim chile = California green chile = long green pepper = chile verde. when I go to the store they are just labeled as “green chili” – they are larger than a jalapeno, and not as spicy. I think the jalapeno is just going to make the dish much spicier, so if you like that, then you’re probably good to use it.

      hope that’s helpful! and if you do use the jalapeno, let us know how it goes!

  29. 29
    Matt

    I made this in bulk with the chicken cut bite size for my sisters shower. This recipe hit it out of the park. Minor changes I made: I grilled the chicken, neglected the chicken broth, simmered it longer (more because I was working on other things) and used jalapeños. I wanted to bath in this sauce it was so good.

  30. 30
    Jane Maynard

    yea! I’m so glad you loved it so much!!

  31. 31
    Andrea

    I made this recipe with my boyfriend because its his favorite dish…It was awesome!!! Perfect balance of flavors. We ate it for dinner on Saturday AND breakfast on Sunday. Wow!

  32. 32
    Coralie

    I absolutely love Indian food. I have travelled to India a few times and always line up for the butter chicken when dining out. I have tried so many different buttered chickens but cant wait to actually make your recipe. Time to throw away the jar sauces and actually make the real thing. Cant wait

  33. LOVE this dish! It looks outstanding. Indian food makes a regular appearance on our table. Everything from Butter chicken to chicken tikka, to chana masala and more. You have a great mix of spices in your sauce.
    So happy to have stumbled upon your site!

  34. 34
    Ainon Mahmood

    This is superbly delicious. Thank you

  35. 35
    shar

    when you say chili powder do you mean American or indian chili powder

    • great questions, shar. I used amaerican chili powder. although, I think trying it with indian chili powder would be a GREAT thing to do!

Leave a comment

Rate this recipe:  

3 Trackbacks

Martha\\\'s Circle
Eat Less Meat
SocialLuxe
ONE