Homemade is always better. We know this pretty well from our grandmothers saying. So let me show you, how to make Indian butter chicken at home.
When I first tasted butter chicken in the restaurant, I didn’t find it very appealing and it was way too spicy for me. I like only very mild spicy flavoured dishes, so when it comes to Indian food, I rather cook this cuisine at home myself. And I speak also for my young children. So whoever doesn’t like spicy butter chicken, or you plan to prepare this butter chicken for your young children, this recipe is just for you!
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What is Indian butter chicken
Indian butter chicken is a dish originating from Indian subcontinent. It contains chicken breast cut in cubes cooked in a mildly spiced tomato sauce. Usually, chicken needs to be marinated for several hours in a lemon juice and yogourt and a mixture of red chilli, salt, garam masala and ginger garlic paste, to infuse all the flavors. Then it’s cooked in a tomato and onion-based sauce that is simmered until smooth and velvety.
Indian spices, especially mix of garam masala can be very spicy. This is why I love preparing my version of butter chicken, because I can control the spiciness of this dish.
Garam masala is the base spice for Indian butter chicken. The most common spices that goes into Garam Masala are: Cumin, Coriander, Green and Black Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Fennel, Mace and dried Chilies. Doesn’t mean you need to use all these spices, and also the quantities, combinations and variations are endless. These spices are typically toasted whole, then ground down into a fine powder.
You can find garam masala spice mix in most of the grocery stores, these days. But because I do not want to make my butter chicken spicy, I need to make my own “non-spicy” garam masalaspice mix. I am using in my mix everything, except chilies. Instead, I use little of sweet paprika powder.
My non-spicy Garam Masala mix
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons cardamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
If you do like spicy food, then use the typical garam masalaspice mix in this chicken butter recipe.
You must be asking yourself where all these great flavors of Indian butter chicken are coming from. Of course the most important flavors are coming from spices, which I have described above. But there is many other ingredients, which can make your Indian butter chicken unforgettable experience of flavors.
Onion– is one of the base ingredient for chicken butter. Good browned onion might change completely the taste of this whole dish. So remember, cook your onions until brown and if you think your onions are brown, then cook them for another few seconds, until they are really brown, but be careful not burned.
Chicken – If you do have a time, you can even marinate your chicken cubes in lemon and yogourt, this will make the chicken tender even more. Brown as well your pieces of chicken. It will add extra flavor to this whole dish.
Tomato sauce – During summer season you can use fresh tomatoes, but then it takes longer to cook and you have to blend the tomatoes into a sauce. So I prefer quicker version with pre-made tomato sauce. I use tomato sauce from my grocery store.
INDIAN BUTTER CHICKEN
Preparation time: 15 minutes ⭐cook time: 35 minutes⭐ servings: 4-6 personnes
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 lbs (900 g) chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp garam masala (see for non spicy garam masala above)
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cups cream
- 1/2 sour cream or white yogourt
- salt & pepper
- cilantro, for garnish
- rice or naan (Indian bread)
- Using 2 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown onion for about 5 minutes or until soften and brown. Add garlic, garam masala, ginger. Stir to combine and cook for few seconds.
- Add another 2 Tbsp of butter and add pieces of the chicken and brown each side. They do not need to be fully cooked all the way through.
- Add tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes before adding the cream. Add the cream, sour cream or white yogourt and stir until combined.
- Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve garnished with lime and cilantro, alongside rice and naan.
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