Saturday, May 18, 2013

Murgh Makhani: Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Chicken Makhani can be made with tikkas (pieces) or quarters.  It is one of the most popular Indian curries both locally and around the world.  This dish originated in the 1950s at a restaurant in Dehli named Moti Mahal.

Murgh Makhani

This recipe calls for 2 pounds of chicken, either in quarters or in smaller pieces (tikkas).

Ingredients: Marinade

  • 2 cups yogurt, plain
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 inch square fresh ginger
  • 2/3 teaspoon red chile powder OR paprika
  • 14 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/ teaspoons lime juice

Ingredients: Makhani Sauce

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kasuri methi ( dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 3 ounces chilled butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • a few drops of vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 ounces light cream

Garam Masala is a blend of black & white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, black & white cumin seeds, and black, brown, and green cardamom pods.


  1. Place the yogurt in a piece of cheesecloth and hang to allow the whey to drip through.
  2. Puree the garlic and ginger in a blender.
  3. Add marinade spices, salt, and lime juice to the yogurt and blend well
  4. Scald the tomatoes for the sauce and peel off the skin.   Reduce tomatoes to a semi-pulp with a fork or potato masher.
  5. Put the kasuri methi into a grinder and reduce to powder form.
  6. Make gashes in the chicken.
  7. Marinate the chicken in the yogurt mixture for 1 - 2 hours.  For best results, marinate chicken overnight.
  8. When ready to cook, put 4 -5 tablespoons of oil in a large, thick-bottomed skillet.
  9. Cook chicken with the marinade over low heat until done.  Turn chicken over during cooking.
  10. Put tomato pulp into a skillet and cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.
  11. Add chilled butter and paprika.  Let it cook for 1 minute. 
  12. Add kasuri methi, garam masala powder, and salt to taste.
  13. Add cream and stir.
  14. Put sauce in the same pan as the chicken and mix well.
  15. Serve over a bed of Basmati rice.
** Do not cook butter for too long or it will turn to ghee, which has a grainy texture.