Butter Chicken

July 15th, 2009

I know a lot of people who would only really order Butter Chicken when they seldom visit an Indian restaurant. It’s often the first dish chosen, but not always mine, as I’ve had better experiences with many other dishes. We once tasted a butter chicken that tasted like tomato sauce and maple syrup. Yep, that’s right… tomato sauce and maple syrup.


This one certainly tastes a whole heap better than that and although I’m guessing it is quite ‘Australianised’ I still enjoy it.

The finished product can be frozen, with or without the addition of the chicken (whichever you prefer) – just in case you make “too” much or want to make some in advance.

Butter Chicken
Recipe slightly adapted from Taste.com.au

* Start the day before as chicken needs marinating

Serves: 8

125 ml (½ cup) natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5 kg chicken thighs, most of the fat removed and cut in large chunks
125g cashews, roasted (plus extra for serving if desired)
120g butter
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 cinnamon sticks
2 Indian bay leaves or normal bay leaves
4 teaspoons paprika
4-6 tablespoon brown sugar, to taste
2 x 425g can tomato puree
300 ml chicken stock
500 ml (2 cups) thickened cream
Steamed basmati rice and Naan bread, to serve

Combine yoghurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder, cumin, ginger and garlic in a bowl. Add chicken and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


Place cashews in a food processor. Process until finely ground.


Heat the butter and oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Reduce heat to low, then add chicken and marinade, paprika, brown sugar, tomato puree, cashew powder and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cream and cook for a further 10 minutes.


Garnish with cashews, chopped coriander and serve with rice and Naan bread.

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  1. Beta Gal says:

    I agree, butter chicken can sometimes have this sickly sweet taste to it when its not done right. But when it is… mmmm perfection. And it is a very mld dish so I can see its attraction to the Western world

  2. That’s an impressive list of spices! The crushed cashews sound good too.

  3. That looks very good indeed and looks like not a single drop of tomato sauce or maple syrup has touched it (eek that sounds terrible, was that at a real Indian restaurant?)

  4. This sounds very rich and tasty…but tomato and maple syrup…gag!

  5. Barbara says:

    I have never heard of butter chicken. It sounds delicious. In the last picture it looks fantastic.

  6. Zita says:

    Never thought of crushed cashew in a sauce, I do alot of peanuts sauce for meals but how come not cashew?… mm interesting, thank’s for sharing 🙂

  7. clekitty says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I love food blogs like yours where someone has tested and tried the recipe as then I have the confidence/motivation to try it out for myself 🙂

  8. Anita says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for the kind comments!!

    Hi Lorraine – yes it was an Indian Restaurant… haven’t been back…

    Hi Clekitty – glad to see you enjoy blogs like this. I like to hear what people think of recipes too, before I potentially waste time…

  9. Rachael says:

    Hi, I will have to try this recipe one day also you are great at what you do you should really do this as a living if you dont already. I have a butter chicken recipe which is similar but uses peppercorns cloves bay leaves Tomato onion cream fenugreek leaves for the curry. tandori masala greek yoghurt ginger and garlic for the marinade for the chicken and you bake the chicken in the oven. Maybe you could try that one out?
    Not trying to tell you how to cook though you obviously know how 🙂

  10. T says:

    You should consider honey rather than sugar. 1 to 2 tbsp will do. Also, a key ingredient is missing. Tandoori colour (a spice)! The tandoori is crucial to the chicken marinade.

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