Easy Butter Chicken is a perfect ‘Friday fakeaway’ recipe that brings the essence of an Indian restaurant right to your own kitchen. The dish originates in North India and is known as Murgh Makhani. After marinating the chicken, you can bring it to the table in less than 30 minutes.
WHAT IS BUTTER CHICKEN
Easy Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a classic North Indian dish that has gained international popularity for its rich and creamy sauce. The dish features marinated chicken pieces immersed in a delicious sauce made from tomatoes, cream, and a lot of spices. Its vibrant orange hue and aromatic flavours make it a favourite among food enthusiasts!
BEST INGREDIENTS FOR BUTTER CHICKEN
- Chicken breast: Choose fresh, boneless, and skinless chicken breasts.
- Natural yoghurt: Use natural yoghurt to marinate the chicken, providing a tangy base and tenderising the meat.
- Aromatics and spices: Aromatics and spices used in this recipe help to recreate an authentic Indian flavour experience.
- Tomato passata and puree: These ingredients form the base of the sauce, providing a rich, smooth texture and a slightly sweet undertone.
- Ghee: After a few tests I found that ghee (clarified butter) works best in this recipe, however, it may not be easy to find. Substitution of oil and butter also works great.
- Cream: Double cream (or heavy cream in the US) helps to achieve a very creamy, velvety sauce.
- Basmati rice or naan bread: These are classic sides for serving butter chicken.
HOW TO MAKE EASY BUTTER CHICKEN
Please note: This is just an overview – the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Marinate the chicken: Mix yoghurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, chilli powder, coriander, paprika, and salt. Coat the chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight for best results.
Step 2: Prepare the sauce: Blend onion, garlic, and ginger into a paste. Sauté in ghee (or oil and butter). Add spices, then the marinated chicken. Cook until sealed.
Step 3: Spice it up: Add tomato passata, puree, cardamom pods, salt, sugar, and kasuri methi. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Add cream and serve: Pour in double/heavy cream. Adjust seasoning. Garnish and serve over rice or with naan bread.
STORING AND FREEZING TIPS
If you find yourself with leftovers, Easy Butter Chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To freeze, transfer the cooled dish into freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stove, adding a splash of cream to restore its original texture.
- Marinate the chicken: Don’t rush the marination process. Allowing the chicken to marinate for an extended period (preferably overnight) ensures it absorbs the flavours and gets super tender.
- Quality cream: Invest in good-quality heavy cream. It not only enhances the creaminess but also contributes to the overall richness of the dish.
- Balance of flavours: Taste as you go. Adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar to achieve the perfect balance of sweet, savoury, and spicy notes.
- Fresh spices: Whenever possible, use freshly ground spices for a more vibrant and aromatic flavour profile.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BUTTER CHICKEN
Besides the classic basmati rice and naan bread, consider serving it with aromatic jeera rice, fluffy pulao, or even crispy papadums for added texture. A side of refreshing cucumber raita or a tangy mango chutney can also work great with Butter Chicken.
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Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?
Absolutely! You can use chicken thighs if you prefer. Follow the same steps as per the recipe.
Is Easy Butter Chicken very spicy?
Butter chicken is one of the mildest curry recipes, but the level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference. You can reduce the amount of chilli powder or omit it entirely.
Can I make this dish ahead of time for a dinner party?
Certainly! Easy Butter Chicken is a great dish to prepare ahead of time for a dinner party. In fact, it often tastes even better! You can prepare the dish a day in advance and refrigerate it. Reheat gently in a pan before serving, adding a splash of cream to revive its creaminess.
Did you make it?
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