butter chicken

butter chicken with naan bread

butter chicken

I’ve recently discovered the charming site FoodForFriendsYeah! and have been enjoying the luscious photography and easygoing style. Last week a tantalising curry passed my RSS: butter chicken. Going a little curry gung-ho of late, I couldn’t resist. I had to try, particularly given it’s enthusiastic and passionate write-up. It’d come from a pretty authentic source too.


I set to marinating my chicken in what seemed like a little of everything of my spice drawer mixed with some yoghurt, and left it overnight to have a jolly good party. The real bonus is this is most of the work; next day is just frying onions and adding the chicken mix then baking. One line from the recipe did concern me though:

“Skim off the extra fat carefully (sometimes using kitchen rolls helps).”

What exactly was I dealing with here?! It was true to its word; I laid a piece of kitchen roll over the dish after it came out and within seconds it was sopping. God knows how much fat was left in it after adding a ton o’ cream, butter and yoghurt to it! To try and counteract this carb fest I invented some tori masala as an excuse to have some greenery.

tray baked butter chicken

The curry was very tasty but disappointing in some respects. I felt the chicken had toughened in the baking process. If I did it again I would brine the meat for a few hours beforehand to lock in moisture. The texture of the sauce was quite delicious though; creamy and sticking to the chunks of chicken and perfect to scooping up with warmed naan. The flavour itself was overwhelmingly saffron. While this wasn’t unpleasant in itself I felt I’d added a whole boat-load of other spices to no effect. I would be interested in trying it again without the saffron to see if the other aromatics had a chance to fight through. So on reflection a tasty curry, however I suspect with a couple of tweaks could be very great indeed.

P.S. Two days later I ate it warmed up for lunch, and the flavour had improved tremendously. The saffron had dulled and gave away to other spices, notably cardamom. I would recommend making it the day before and reheating for an enhanced dinner, as is so often the case with deeply spiced dishes.

Butter chicken:

For the marinade:

3cm long ginger, grated

4 cloves garlic, grated

80g ground almonds

¼ teaspoon red chilli powder

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon garam masala

4 cardamom pods, seeds only, ground

1 ¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon turmeric

A healthy pinch saffron

1 tin tomatoes

150ml thick, Greek style yogurt

1 kilogram chicken pieces, cut into chunks

For the sauté:

4 tablespoons butter

2 onions, thinly sliced

Handful of coriander leaves

1 teaspoon curry powder

5 tablespoons double cream

  1. Combine the dry marinade ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Stir in the yoghurt and tomatoes and add the chicken. Refrigerate overnight and bring out of the fridge an hour before cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a pan melt the butter and add a splash of oil. Sauté the onions until browned and add the curry powder. Stir for a minute then add the chicken mixture and coriander. Continue to fry for a couple of minutes until everything reaches a simmer. Transfer to a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for an hour.
  3. Remove from the oven and skim off the excess fat. Serve with plenty of naan.


  • Pingback: grilled tori masala « grubblog

  • This recipe looks awesome, thanks for sharing! If you every want to make it a lot quicker but still want that awesome flavour with all natural ingredients, why not try my hand blended Butter Chicken Spice Mix, it really does taste like authentic Indian Butter Chicken, made in just 20mins!

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