Butter chicken is just easy

Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 40 minutes. Only fresh meat and veges and basic spices used in this recipe.
P.S. Amount of products listed below is enough to serve lunch or dinner for up to 4 people.


  • 900 grams Chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) – highly recommend Waitoa free range chicken
  • 2 tablespoon Oil
  • 100 grams butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
  • 4 slices ginger
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 dried chili
  • 1 big brown onion
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 150 ml full cream
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek

  1. Cut chicken thighs into small pieces. Pour oil into a pot and lightly fry chicken over high heat. Transfer the chicken into a bowl when it’s ready (~15-20 minutes):

  2. Add butter, cumin, ginger, garlic chili and onion into same pot. Cook for 3 minutes until the onion becomes translucent:

  3. Remove chili and add turmeric, salt and garam masala and cook for another minute:

  4. Then ad tomatoes and stir well (~10 minutes):

  5. Remove the pot from stove and use a hand blender to turn the gravy mix into a puree:

  6. Add cooked chicken, full cream and sugar, coriander, fenugreek and cook for a medium heat for another ~5 minutes, then taste it and add salt if needed:

  7. Serve it with basmati rice garnish:

An advice:

  • You can buy chicken thighs and remove bones and skin by yourself – making it a bit cheaper
  • To prevent chicken from burning to the bottom of the pot, start fry it on medium heat stiring it well and slowly increase heat up to high heat
  • Butter – I recommend Ghee clarified butter produced by Mathura or any other manufacturer
  • It’s better to chop onion and ginger onto small pieces to save time on cooking
  • It is recommended to roast spices on frying pan before using them, so it makes the flavour more saturated
  • The perception of spices is very strongly influenced by the amount of salt put
  • Don’t be afraid to make experiment with amount of spices but keep in mind that its taste and flavour may not occur immediately but 2-3 seconds later so add them cautiosly
  • The level of spiciness is controlled by chili – if you remove it before using hand blender you get mild, if you blend a half of it – you get medium, but if you blend the whole one – you get hot.
    If you prefer mild+ then you can cut chili in half before putting into the pot and then remove it completely before using the hand blender
  • Remove tomatoes skin before cutting them. It won’t be cooked anyway and will stuck in a blender.
  • Original Indian butter chicken is cooked without sugar so I may guess it was introduced in New Zealand.
    So it is totally up to you to cook with sugar or without 🙂
  • Butter chicken, like any Indian meal has a lot of variables influencing the final taste so don’t be surpised if it tastes slightly different next time when you cook it 🙂
  • Try to avoid can tomatoes because they can easily change meal’s taste and actually ruin it (read the previous point)
  • Also, in addition or as replacement to full cream you can add coconut milk/cream/or coconut flesh which makes your meal even more creamy

Any questions? :)

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Ivan Grigoryev's Blog
Living in New Zealand. Blogging about the country, beautiful places, everyday life.
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