“This butter chicken recipe is blog-worthy!”
That’s what my family said to me after I made what turned out to be THE ONE! This is my first foray into cooking Indian food and I am so excited to share this recipe!
When we lived in California, one of our favorite restaurants was a place called Amber India. They had the best butter chicken, and even though it wasn’t the cheapest dish, we figured it was worth splurging once in a while to enjoy their awesome dish. The thought of making butter chicken myself never even entered my mind.
And then Amber India published their butter chicken recipe in a local newspaper! Suddenly the idea of making homemade butter chicken became doable! I’ll be honest, though, and say that, at first glance, the recipe seemed incredibly daunting and intimidating. The list of ingredients (mostly spices) was long…I don’t even think I read the actual words. I just saw a long list! I wasn’t ready to attempt it.
But fast forward to today (about 15 years later…okay, so it wasn’t THAT fast…), and I can only say I wish I tried it sooner!
Inspired by Amber India’s version, my Creamy Butter Chicken is an adaptation of their recipe, having tweaked it a bit to make a little simpler for the home cook…like you and me!
Enough talk…let’s get cooking! 😉
Butter chicken is a two-step process, the most important being the marinating. The marinade is actually quite simple: lemon juice, plain yogurt, garlic, ginger, salt, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Let the chicken mingle with these ingredients for at least 6 hours, but it is best if you can let them hang out overnight (butter chicken sleepover!). 😉
After the slumber party, it’s time to get cooking! While the chicken pieces roast in a high temperature oven, that’s when it’s time to put the sauce together in a pot – tomato puree, cream, butter (of course!), nutmeg, honey, and another helping of minced ginger, minced garlic, salt, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala. Add the chicken and all of a sudden, you’ve got BUTTER CHICKEN! Made right in your very own kitchen!!
How can you not get excited about that???
As I mentioned above, I was quite apprehensive about attempting to make butter chicken at home. But then I decided to dive right in and tried it out! Needless to say, with each attempt, I got more confident. And all those spices that intimidated me years ago? They suddenly didn’t seem so scary anymore! Just think…if I hadn’t even tried, I wouldn’t be sharing this awesome recipe with you now! And if I can do it, you can, too!
Serve this awesome butter chicken with some basmati rice and naan and you have got a fabulous Indian meal! Better yet, try making my Soft Gluten-Free Tortilla Flatbread as a worthy naan-substitute! While my flatbread recipe is not exactly like a true naan bread, it IS gluten-free and it is perfect for dipping into all that butter chicken sauce.
So what are you waiting for?? If you love butter chicken like we do, you have to give this recipe a go. You’ll be so proud of yourself when you realize you’ve got this! Leave me a comment below!
Rich and Creamy Butter Chicken
- 1 kg (just over 2 lbs) boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into chunks
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups plain full-fat yogurt
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 3 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2-3 tbs ginger minced or grated
- 1 tbs ghee (butter is fine if you don't have ghee)
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2 tbs ginger minced or grated
- 2 cups tomato passata (may also be called tomato puree; NOT tomato paste)
- 2 cups cream (can use whole milk or combination of the two)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbs honey
- 1/4 cup Butter
In a large ziploc bag, place chicken pieces and lemon juice. Let sit for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine yogurt, spices, garlic, and ginger and mix well.
Add yogurt-spice mixture to chicken in the ziploc bag, making sure that chicken is coated well.
Seal ziploc bag and refrigerate chicken for at least 4 hours (overnight is best).
Preheat oven 450 deg F (230C).
Remove chicken from marinade and place on a foil liked baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, until chicken is browned.
While chicken is roasting, melt ghee in a large pot over medium heat.
Add dry spices to the ghee and stir until fragrant (30 seconds).
Add ginger and garlic to spices and cook for 1 minute.
Add tomato passata, cream, and honey and stir well. Bring to a gentle boil.
Add cooked chicken pieces to the pot and heat through.
Add 1/4 cup butter and stir into sauce to melt.
Garnish butter chicken with some fresh parsley and a drizzle of cream.
Recipe NotesEditor's Note - November 4th, 2017 - a correction was made to the quantity of chicken for the recipe. It previously stated that you needed 1.5 kg (3 lbs.) of boneless, skinless chicken thighs because I originally developed this recipe using bone-in chicken thighs. However, I changed the final recipe to boneless chicken thighs to make it easier. The recipe has now been corrected to reflect the right amount of boneless chicken thighs needed. ~Lisa.