Succulent pieces of chicken marinated in a yoghurt base and cooked in an onion-tomato paste with select whole spices and butter. This easy butter chicken recipe is a crowd-pleaser.
How much do you like butter chicken? I am not asking if you like butter chicken. Instead, I am going two steps ahead and asking how much you like it! We all know how popular this mildly spiced curry is across the world.
Now you can also create a restaurant-style butter chicken without spending hours in the kitchen. You don’t have to wait for a weekend. This easy butter chicken is so easy that you can add it to your weekday cooking plans.
I have dialled back the richness quotient so that you don’t have to feel guilty savouring this delicious chicken curry. I have kept cream as an optional ingredient. I found that one can still make a good butter chicken without adding cream.
About this easy butter chicken recipe
This recipe involves four main steps. The first step is to make a marinade with yoghurt, Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste and salt. You should marinate the chicken for at least 15-20 minutes. If you can plan in advance, marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
The second step is to make the paste. Shallow fry onions and tomatoes in butter, and blend into a paste adding chilli powder, coriander powder, soaked cashew nuts, and water.
In the third step, we’ll sear the marinated chicken pieces in butter.
The fourth step is about bringing all these elements together. Whole spices are fried in butter, followed by adding the onion-tomato paste, the flash-fried chicken, and some Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Slow cook it for 10 minutes to get all these elements together, and your butter chicken is ready.
Didn’t I tell you that this is an easy butter chicken recipe?
A word of caution. Don’t forget the Kasuri methi. Don’t overdo the Kasuri methi either. It adds the right balance of subtle bitterness ensuring your butter chicken doesn’t end up becoming monotonously sweet.
You can serve this easy butter chicken immediately, as soon as it is cooked. But you will love it more if you can wait for 3-4 hours. Enjoy with some roti, chapati, or rice.
If you liked this easy butter chicken recipe, don’t forget to check out the following recipes as well.
Easy Butter Chicken
- 1/2 kg chicken small, boneless pieces
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons oil olive, sunflower, rice bran
- 1 tablespoon kasuri methi packed
- coriander leaves (cilantro) to garnish
- cream optional
- 1/4 cup yoghurt
- 1/2 tablespoon kashmiri chilli powder
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger finely chopped and crushed
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic finely chopped and crushed
For curry paste
- 3 medium onions finely chopped
- 3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 10 Cashew nuts soaked in lukewarm water and drained
- a pinch garam masala
Whole spices for frying
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 piece cinnamon
- 4 cloves
- 4 cardamom
- 1 inch ginger finely chopped and crushed
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic paste finely chopped and crushed
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Kashmiri chilli adds a nice colour to the curry without being hot. If you can't source Kashmiri chilli powder, substitute with any mild chilli varieties.
- Add the chicken pieces, mix well, and marinate for 20 minutes.
- If you are planning in advance, marinate for a longer time (overnight).
- On a medium flame, heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan.
- Cook the onions until they turn tender and translucent.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, mix well and cook with lid closed for 3 minutes.
- Open the lid, and add coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala, and cashew nuts.
- Continue cooking on a low flame without the lid. Stir occasionally.
- While that's happening, take a thick-bottom pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter and a drizzle of oil.
- Sear the marinated chicken pieces. Reduce the flame and fry until chicken is almost cooked through.
- Fry in batches if you have to. Drain off and transfer to a plate lined with a kitchen towel to soak up any extra oil.
- The juices should have disappeared from the onion-tomato mix by now. The tomatoes will turn mushy and disappear into the mix.
- Switch off and let it cool down a bit.
- Transfer the contents to a blender, add 1 1/2 cups of water, and blend to a fine paste.
- In a pot, heat a tablespoon butter and fry the whole spices. Add ginger and garlic.
- Empty the pureed sauce from the blender into the pot. Mix well. Close the lid and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium flame.
- Open the lid and add the fried chicken and the Kasuri methi. Cook for a few more minutes while stirring frequently.
- I didn't add any cream, but you can add some now. That's optional.
- Switch off. Garnish with coriander leaves. Let it sit for a while. Serve with some roti, chapati, or rice.