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Murg Makhani aka Butter Chicken

Looking through the pictures on my phone, I just realised I haven't shared the recipe for the Butter Chicken that I served with Butter Naan. So here it is... You all know that a south-Indian restaurant is known for the kind of Sambar they serve; similarly, north-Indian restaurants are known for the kind of Murgh Makhani they serve. Every restaurant or home have their own version of Butter Chicken aka Murgh Makhani. And I don't think they taste same anywhere so it never left me craving for more. 

Murg Makhani aka Butter ChickenWhen I was trying the Naan for the second time, I wanted to serve it with some curry that we usually order if we were at a restaurant. And the first thing that came to my mind was Butter Chicken. Oh! I forgot to mention, we have a new restaurant opened up next door - Tandoori Nights! which made me want to try Butter Chicken at home. I mean why pay through nose for Indian food that we can make at home! :-P They charge 75 riyals for a Mutton Biryani that serves just one! :-(

Did you know that Murgh Makhani was created during the 1950s by Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi? That too while making staff food with leftovers tandoors? Some confuse Chicken Tikka with this and claim that this was found by a chef in the UK. But I like to believe it is Moti Mahal in Delhi that served it first and.... how did I miss this during my last visit???!!!! hoping to taste it sometime in future! In Sha Allah.

But for now, I have adapted this recipe from Monish Gujral's blog. Yes, he is the custodian of the Moti Mahal brand and Managing Director of the Moti Mahal Delux Management Services. I have used almost the same ingredients but the method is different.

Murg Makhani | Butter Chicken


Marinate and roast:
500gms boneless chicken breasts or 700gms whole chicken cut into pieces
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon kasoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons of yoghurt
1 teaspoon oil
Salt to taste

For the gravy: (cook and blend)
2 tablespoon butter
2 green cardamom
1-inch cinnamon
2 cloves
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
5 to 8 whole cashews
2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
2 to 4 green chillies, slit
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
Salt to taste

Final additions for makhani:
1 cup of water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kasoori methi
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
5 tablespoon cream (heavy cream, labneh, greek yoghurt, etc)
Coriander leaves to garnish


Marinate the Chicken
Marinate with the ingredients listed for marination and keep it refrigerated for 4 to 5 hours or even overnight. If using bone-in pieces, then make deep cuts before marinating.

Prepare the Gravy
  1. Heat butter in a deep saucepan
  2. Add the whole spices and fry till fragrant
  3. Add the fenugreek seeds and saute for few seconds
  4. Add the whole cashews and saute for few seconds
  5. Add grated the ginger garlic paste along with slit green chillies. Saute this mixture until the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, and a little salt. Cook covered until you see oil separated.
  7. Once cooled, add the content into a blender and blend it until smooth
Roast the chicken in the same pot:
  1. Roast the marinated chicken in the same pot you made the gravy. Add some butter and dump the marinated chicken and roast on high flame.
  2. Turn the pieces to roast all sides evenly until cooked through.
Final steps for Butter Chicken
  1. Return the blended sauce back to the pan (in which the roasted chicken is already there) and add a cup of water and bring this to boil
  2. Reduce the flame to low and add the sugar, kasoori methi, and garam masala. 
  3. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes on low flame
  4. Garnish with a drizzle of cream, chopped coriander leaves and serve with any kind of flatbreads like Naan, kulcha, or even plain chapatis. 

Murg Makhani aka Butter Chicken

In simple words, marinate, grill, cook in a tomato-based sauce that is rich with cream and butter. But what goes into the marination and the sauce is what makes it  Murg Makhani. I think what makes it stand out is not just the butter and cream but the dried fenugreek leaves aka Kasoori methi. I am kinda sure it would have tasted different if the chicken pieces were grilled in an oven instead of roasting on the pan but we loved this version and this satiates our cravings for rich Indian food without costing a bomb!

New images added 11th June 2019 made in my Abu Dhabi home

It is a total indulgence! chicken marinated in spices and yoghurt roasted lightly in butter and then cooked until melting soft in tomato and cream sauce that is spiced with hot chillies and whole spices! Tear a piece of hot naan and scoop it in the silky chicken -yum - the perfect marriage!


I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaai so that I can see your creations!