This butter chicken simple recipe is all homemade from scratch. And from scratch it means homemade and homemade is always delicious. 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!
Indian butter chicken simple recipe introduction
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.
Ingredients for butter chicken
- unsalted butter
- fresh chicken breasts
- medium yellow onion
- medium garlic cloves
- garam masala seasoning (if you will be using homemade, see below for the blend composition)
- fresh ginger
- tomato sauce
- tomato paste
- heavy cream (35 %)
- sour cream or white yogourt
- salt and pepper
- cilantro or parsley
What is Indian spice: GARAM MASALA
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 masala spice mix. I am using in my mix everything, except chilies. Instead, I use little of sweet paprika powder.
How to make your own homemade spice blend for butter chicken (less spicy then in grocery stores)
As I have young children, I always have to adapt spicy recipes to either no spicy and lately very lightly spicy. Personally, I also prefer this version of butter chicken with lighter garam masala spice, and here is the recipe for the homemade blend.
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons cardamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon cloves in powder
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
If you do like spicy food, then use the typical garam masala spice mix in this chicken butter recipe.
What is so special about butter chicken
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.
Onions– 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 flavour 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 a quicker version with pre-made tomato sauce. I use tomato sauce from my grocery store.
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INDIAN BUTTER CHICKEN
- Large skillet with lid
- 6 tbsp butter
- 5 pieces (900 g ) chicken breasts cut into 1” cubes
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 medium garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp garam masala seasoning see for non spicy garam masala blend in the blog post
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ½½ cup heavy cream 35 % (half and half)
- ½ cup sour cream or white yogourt
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
- In a large skillet, reheat 2 Tbsp of butter over medium-high heat. Brown onion for about 5 minutes or until soften and brown. You may lower the heat to medium-low the last 2 minutes. Don't burn the onion.
- Add to the skillet garlic, garam masala spices, fresh grated ginger and stir to combine it all together. Cook all this for about a minute.
- Add to the skillet another 2 tbsp of butter and once the butter is melted, add cubes of the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown them from all sides. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until you the colour of the chicken turns white.
- Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and coat the chicken with it. Bring the Indian butter chicken to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Add to the butter chicken the heavy cream, sour cream or white yogourt and stir until well combined. Stir in also remaining 2 tbsp of butter. Season with salt and pepper in needed.
- Serve garnished with lime and cilantro. As a side serve with rice and naan.
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Linking to Cook Blog Share week 7