butter chicken murgh makhani recipe

This butter chicken (murgh makhani) recipe is a decadent, spicy, slightly sour, slightly sweet take on a classic Punjabi dish, but it is served and enjoyed all across India and abroad.


– ¾ C full-fat Greek yogurt
– 2 T lemon juice
– 1 T ground turmeric
– 2 T garam masala
– 2 T ground cumin
– 1 T coriander powder
– 1 T red chile powder
– 1 large pinch of fenugreek leaves
– 3 large chicken thighs, skin removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1/8 lb butter
– 2 T corn, canola, or other vegetable oil
– 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
– 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and crushed
– ½ T cumin seeds
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1 C of canned, crushed tomatoes
– 2 red chiles, seeded and diced
– 1/3 C chicken stock
– 1 C cream
– 1 t tomato paste
– 2 T almond meal
– Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Mix the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin, coriander powder, red chile powder, and fenugreek leaves in a large bowl. Place the cut up chicken thigh pieces in the bowl and mix well until evenly coated. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for, ideally, 24 hours, but at least 20-30 minutes.

2. In a large pan over medium heat, mix the butter and oil together and heat until it starts to bubble. Add the chicken pieces and mix constantly (as the yogurt will make the pieces stick a bit) until the chicken is browned on the outside, but not fully cooked. Remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate or bowl.

3. Turn the heat down to low. In the same pan, add the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, and mix vigorously until the raw smell of the ginger and garlic goes away.

4. Add the cinnamon stick, crushed tomatoes, chiles, salt, and pepper and cook until the chiles start to break down. This will take from 8-10 minutes.

5. Remove the cinnamon stick and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture into a fine, smooth sauce. You can also push the sauce through a sieve to get it even silkier. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender, but make sure that you let the mixture cool before blending. Hot liquid in a blender causes a huge buildup of steam and pressure and can cause a dangerous explosion. Please be careful.

6. Add the chicken to the sauce and pour in enough chicken stock to get to the desired consistency. This amount will depend on you like your tomato gravy. You’re looking for a sauce that is not too thick, but not too thin. It should be medium in density. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and allow the mixture to cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.

7. Stir in the cream and tomato paste and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. With our pre-searing of the chicken, this should only take around 5-10 minutes.

8. Add the almond meal and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with an additional small pinch of fenugreek leaves, if desired.

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