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Indian cooking spicesThis recipe for Butter Chicken comes from India and is based on the cooking of the sub-continent. Always remember that quantities are very much a matter of personal taste and these recipes are intended as a guide to enable you to cook authentic tasting Indian dishes.

Butter Chicken is another popular cuisine of India and Pakistan and should not be mistaken with Chicken Tikka.

Butter Chicken was created at Moti Mahal restaurant in Dariyagunj, Delhi. It is usually served with steamed rice, Naan bread, Tandoori Roti, Rumali Roti or Parathas.

It is believed the chef had made this in a bit of hurry for a VIP who wanted a chicken dish. At that time he only had half a chicken tikka left so he made a curry with chicken tikka smeared in a lot of butter with a thick tomato curry.

Later he improved the dish and made it a regular part of the restaurant menu. It is one of the most popular Indian dishes all over the world.

Butter chicken can be made hot or mild, to suit different palates. The main ingredient of butter chicken is chicken and butter, mixed with orange colour, onion, tomato and an authentic Indian spice sauce. The most important ingredient for this dish is dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi), which are added at the end of cooking to give a final touch to the dish for garnishing.

If you would like to know more about Indian cooking read the article Indian Cooking . . . how did it become so popular?

Popular Indian dishes:

  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Butter Chicken
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Rogan Josh
  • Malai Kofta
  • Chole
  • Palak Paneer
  • Kaali Daal
  • Chaat
  • Naan


1 kg chicken
Ginger garlic, crushed
Bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns
Garam masala, red chili, turmeric, coriander, cumin powder
Unmelted Butter
Cooking oil
Ground almond
Onion, finely sliced
Tomatoes, chopped and blended in food processor
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh coriander for garnishing
Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
Chicken stock


  • Skin the chicken, cut it into pieces and wash it.
  • Rub salt, red chili powder and lime juice on to the chicken and marinate for an hour.
  • Next, put the almond, peppercorn, cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves on a hot griddle and roast them until brown.
  • Let them cool and then add cardamoms and grind it into a fine powder.
  • Mix the ground spices and almond mixture with the yoghurt.
  • Cover the chicken with the mixture and marinate for another hour.
  • Put another heavy pan on the heat, add some oil and butter, and fry the onion until brown.
  • Add the crushed ginger and garlic paste and continue to cook until the raw smell is gone.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the pan and fry until the meat is sealed
  • Add the tomatoes, the kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), chicken stock and the marinade mixture.
  • Fry until the sauce has thickened and reduced and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Melt the butter in another pan and pour the melted butter over the chicken.
  • Remove from the heat and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.

Serve your Butter Chicken with Naan or Tandoori Roti as your relish.

This dish goes well with Kaali Daal, Naan (baked flat bread) or Tandoori Roti or Jeera rice. Needless to say this is a rich curry, and has lot of calories, but if you love food and do not count calories . . . you can always join a gym.

Serves 4

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