What? Butter Chicken made with no butter? YES and besides the amazing aroma and authentic spices, my new video will show you just how easy this is to make at home. Again and again. Butter Chicken – Punjabi Murgh Makhani as it is properly named, is a cinch to make and can alter in heat for all tastes.
Butter Chicken is probably one of the best know Indian dishes outside of Tikka Masala or Tandoori, but with authentic spices and my trick, this restaurant quality dish can be made at home and without a lot of fuss.
For those of you who visit here know, I am a lover of big and bold flavors and this delivers on both counts. The marinade is fantastic, and this comes together in no time at all, which makes it a go to for mid-week rotation dinners.
One of the main ingredients used in this is Garam Masala, a wonderfully heady and warm spice blend that I posted a homemade version of the other day. I recently used up my batch and needed to make another since I wanted this dish to share with you guys. Feel free to purchase from the spice aisle of your local market, but I made a video to show you how easy it is to make yourself, too.
One of my favorite go to Indian recipe books is “The Food of India – Authentic Recipes from the Spicy Subcontinent” and it is a collection of recipes from several chefs of the Oberoi Group, a global hotel company based in Delhi. This book contains some of the most authentic Indian recipes I have ever tried.
The reason I also make note of this is because of the two Indian recipes we crave most here is Butter Chicken and Mulligatawny, which is an English soup based on an Indian recipe. While we get our fix of the soup and butter chicken at a local restaurant, I have yet to duplicate either recipe at home to my liking. Until now, at least for the Butter Chicken.
This is a house favorite and I think I’ve made it about 963 times now (OK, I kid, but A LOT) after trying the recipe from Nagi over at RecipeTin Eats. This Butter Chicken (Punjabi Murgh Makhani) is just that, a superb blending of spices and the result is mouthwatering. Trust.
In the cook book, The Food of India, it uses copious amount of butter (three quarters of a pound!), while in this recipe butter is omitted entirely and amazes. 🙂
I have known Nagi for a while now, and her recipes deliver in flavor and her photography is top notch.
The spice and yogurt marinade is spot on for this Butter Chicken – Punjabi Murgh Makhani. While I followed her directions to the letter, like you should for any new recipe, I have had it marinated for an hour and was still impressed. I also bumped the heat up and a tweaked a few spices to my liking after trying it twice, and am beyond ecstatic for having found this one and had to share it with you, too. I mean, this is butter chicken without the butter. Crazy, yes, perfection, indeed!
Plus, this is all one pan, comes together rather quickly and is superb in flavored nuance. I make this with a new find, at least for me – brown long grain basmati rice! Seeing as Dave is a type 2 diabetic, we try to keep white rice to a minimum, and I, a die hard white rice lover, found this so good. It will be a new staple in my pantry. However I did make white basmati rice for me and these photos. What can I say, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine and Dave had his with the brown basmati. 😉
I also found some wonderful whole wheat pita bread to use instead of our previous choice go to of flour flatbread or tortillas. They worked wonderfully when filling each pita half with the tasty, creamy and deliciously spiced sauce and chicken. Fresh cilantro and the rice on the side made for a perfect Butter Chicken – Punjabi Murgh Makhani meal. Enjoy!
Butter Chicken - Punjabi Murgh Makhani
- 2 garlic cloves , crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp garam masala (See Note 1)
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast meat , tenders or thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 8 oz tomato sauce (See Note 2)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup cream (full fat or light) OR for a lighter version use 3/4 cup light cream + 1/4 cup milk (low fat)
- Cilantro for garnish
- Combine Marinade ingredients with the chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, overnight, or up to 24 hours.
- Heat the oil over high heat in a large fry pan. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is white all over - it doesn't really brown due to the marinade.
- Add the tomato sauce, sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered. Sauce will thicken.
- Season with salt if needed. Stir through the cream and simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and a pinch of some more Garam Masala. Serve with basmati rice.
- Use more or less Garam Masala depending on your taste for heat. This is not a very hot dish, the spice blend is more flavor than heat. I think sometimes people confuse spicy with heat and there is a difference! 🙂
- I use Tomato Sauce in this recipe and have also used Tomato Passata, both work well in this. Tomato Passata is uncooked tomato puree that has been strained of seeds and skins. It is not cooked, where Tomato Sauce is cooked and often has other ingredients such as carrots, onions and garlic. If you want little bits of tomato in the sauce passata works well. Smoother go tomato sauce.
Passata is readily available in most supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces. It costs just a little more, sometimes the same, as canned tomatoes. If you can't find it, puree canned tomatoes. This will also work with what is called "Tomato Sauce" in The U.S. of America (Australia! From what I understand don't use what you call Tomato Sauce!).