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Butter Chicken

I love a good butter chicken and this version is my current favourite.

I originally featured a butter chicken recipe on this page back in 2014. It wasn’t until visiting the page recently that I realised how much it needed updating!

So here I have for you my updated butter chicken recipe.

This is a recipe I learned while travelling in India and it will feature in my next cookbook ‘The Curry Guy BBQ’. That is scheduled to be published in April 2022.

As you’ve found it here though, you can try my favourite butter chicken recipe now!

Butter chicken ready to serve.

Truly the best butter chicken I have ever tried!

Why I cook this butter chicken on the barbecue?

You could of course cook this famous curry indoors but for me it’s all about that deliciously marinated and grilled chicken.

I like to cook butter chicken outside because I can grill the chicken at about the same time I cook the sauce. It just makes a lot of sense really. 

Butter chicken is made with tandoori chicken on the bone and the leftover marinade becomes part of the sauce. This version is about as authentic as they come.

What is so different about this butter chicken?

I my cookbooks ‘The Curry Guy’ and ‘The Curry Guy Bible’ I featured a more commonly seen version of butter chicken.

This version goes back to the original, with the chicken marinated in mustard oil and a good amount of chaat masala.

If you haven’t tried butter chicken with these two key ingredients, it’s time to change that.

We’re talking curry heaven here!

Which cooking products?

You can use whatever you have. I use a  Kadai Fire bowl with a tripod stand and karahi.

I always use top quality, restaurant grade charcoal from Big K Products. In this case I used briquettes but I also highly recommend their lump wood charcoal for this style of cooking. 

I think of the fuel I use to cook as one of the ingredients. A good quality charcoal will enhance the flavour. Never use low quality charcoal that has been treated with lighting chemicals. 

Yes, it makes it faster to light up your barbecue at times but your food won’t be nearly as good. Another tip is to use 

Make this recipe your own…

You will see in the ingredients that I recommend either Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika. 

This is a personal thing. I prefer a spicier curry so I use Kashmiri chilli powder in my butter chicken. You could make it less spicy with paprika or a combination of the two. 

Some people prefer not to use mustard oil. I have given instructions how to use it but if you would prefer, you could substitute ghee.

Butter chicken is usually cooked with chicken on the bone for better flavour. This time around I was cooking for a few that liked their chicken off the bone so I prepare a bit of both. 

Step by step preparation photos…

Marinating chicken

First marinade. Rub the ingredients into the chicken and set aside while you make the second marinade.

Chicken marinating

Whisk the remaining marinade ingredients together and rub this into the chicken. Allow to marinate for an hour or overnight for best results.

Skewered chicken tikka

I recommend scraping as much of the marinade off as possible before grilling. The reserve marinade it great in the sauce.

Chicken skewers over the fire

It is best to weave the chicken onto the skewer rather than pushing the skewer straight through. Cook over direct heat until cooked through.

This is also a great way to make chicken tikka. No butter chicken sauce required!

The marinade for the chicken is one of my all time favourites.

So if you just want to serve some tandoori chicken on its own or wrap it into a naan or chapati, go for it.

You will love the flavour. 

Tandoori chicken

The tandoori chicken served without the butter chicken sauce.

Frying butter in pan

With the chicken cooked, heat up your pan and add half of the butter and the oil.

Frying onions

Stir in the blended onions and fry for about 5 minutes.

Basic butter chicken sauce

Stri in the blended tomatoes and cashews. Bring to a simmer and then add the garlic and ginger paste.

Simmering curry sauce

Let this all come to a simmer and be sure to stir well.

Simmering curry

Add the retained marinade, the ground spices and the kasoori methi. Then stir in the cooked tandoori chicken.

Butter chicken curry

If you like a bit of cream, go ahead and add it now with the remaining butter. This is butter chicken after all!

Butter chicken

Season with salt to taste and serve.

Butter chicken curry

Dig in!

If you like this butter chicken, you might like to try some of these Indian curry favourites too…

 

Chicken biryani
Chicken Karahi
Katsu Chicken Curry
Chicken Lababdar
Simple staff chicken curry

 

Yield: 6

Butter Chicken Made Easy

Butter chicken curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 x 2k (4 lb.) chicken, skinned, cut into small pieces and scored
  • FOR THE TANDOORI CHICKEN
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 2 level tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • ¾ cup mustard oil, heated to smoking point and then cooled to room temperature
  • ¾ cup plain Greek Yogurt, whisked until smooth
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 generous tsp chaat masala
  • FOR THE SAUCE
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 100g butter
  • 2 large red onions, blended with a little water until smooth
  • 800g tinned chopped tomatoes, blended until smooth
  • 20 raw cashews, blended with the tomatoes
  • The retained marinade from the chicken
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¾ cup double cream, whisked
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp garam masala

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon
    juice, salt and garlic and ginger paste. Set aside while you prepare the
    remaining marinade. Whisk the mustard oil, yoghurt and ground spices together until smooth. The yoghurt might look like it has curdled a bit but it will all be fine in the end.
  2. Pour over the chicken. Mix well with one hand to ensure the
    chicken is nicely coated and allow to marinate for one hour or overnight. The longer the better.
  3. When ready to cook, prepare your barbecue for direct heat cooking and rub as much marinade off the chicken as you can, retaining the marinade for the sauce.
  4. Skewer the chicken onto metal skewers. You could also cook the chicken on a lightly greased cooking grate. When your coals are white hot and it is uncomfortably hot to hold your hand at cooking level for more than two seconds, you’re ready to get cooking.
  5. Place your chicken skewers over the fire and cook
    until nicely charred on the underside. This should take about five minutes. Rotate the skewers to cook the other side, again for about 5 minutes.
  6. If serving the chicken without the sauce, you should baste it with melted ghee and continue cooking until cooked through. Transfer to a plate to serve or rest while you make the butter sauce.
  7. Place a karahi or large pan on the grate over the hottest part of the fire. Add the oil and half of the butter and bring to a sizzle. Then pour in the blended onions and fry for about 6 or 7 minutes, stirring regularly.
  8. With the onions fried, stir in the garlic and ginger paste along with the chilli powder or paprika, cumin and ground coriander and fry for a further 30 seconds.
  9. Add the blended tomatoes and cashews and stir well to combine and then add the cooked chicken and reserved marinade and remaining butter. Bring to a simmer and stir in the cream. To finish add the kasoori methi by rubbing it between your fingers. Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with the garam masala.

Did you like this recipe?

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The free range chicken used in this recipe was supplied by my friends at Swaledale Butchers. They offer an amazing service with a huge selection of top quality meats that can be delivered right to your door.

Swaledale Butchers mark of quality

Aaron

Thursday 20th of January 2022

This is so different to the recipe book version, I'm really confused as to why they are so different and which one to follow

Dan Toombs

Friday 21st of January 2022

Sorry you find it confusing, you can use either recipe, choose the one you prefer. There are different variations of butter chicken and I have worked on two so people have a choice. They are both great so you won't regret making either. Thanks Dan

Jayne

Thursday 9th of December 2021

Hi Dan

I’ve only recently discovered your recipes, I’ve asked for your bible for Xmas but am perusing now as I want to cook several curry’s for NYE. Do you have any suggestions for an alternative to nuts for the allergy sufferers amongst us? Cashew nuts in this or almonds in tikka masala etc I’m in Leicester so have no difficulty getting some of the more obscure ingredients but the nuts throw me every time!!

Dan Toombs

Friday 10th of December 2021

Hi I am afraid there aren't really any alternatives to nuts, just leave them out is all I can advise. Good luck with your NYE feast! Thanks Dan

janette

Sunday 26th of September 2021

I'm confused -after reading through the comments -it is mentioned that anise and curry leaves are ingredients -but they are not listed -can you please clarify

Dan Toombs

Friday 1st of October 2021

Thank you for your comment, they are added at any point to add flavour but I will change the recipe so it is clear when to add them. Dan

Billy

Friday 26th of February 2021

Can I turn the masala recipe from your easy curry cookbook into butted chicken easily?

Dan Toombs

Sunday 28th of February 2021

Yes - you should be able to do that if you mix the 2 recipes up a bit, just have a play with the recipes. Thanks Dan

Amy

Friday 5th of February 2021

Could this recipe be made with chicken breast instead? I know thighs have better flavour but I just don't like them!! Also, is this recipe in one of your cook books? Thanks :)

Dan Toombs

Friday 5th of February 2021

Hi Yes you can certainly use chicken breast instead. This recipe is in my red @ Curry Guy ' book and also The Curry Guy Bible Thanks Dan

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