Restaurant-Style Indian butter chicken is absolute comfort food. Rich, creamy, tomato-based gravy simmered with big morsels of marinated chicken. Today, I share my version which is similar to the one made in restaurants. Perfect over white rice, chapati, roti, or naan.
My friends always tell me, my butter chicken is the way it is made in restaurants. I've promised many of them that I'd share the recipe. This one does have a few extra steps, so I decided I had to share it with progress pictures.
It sounds like a long recipe with a few extra steps (similar to how they make it in restaurants) but it is worth every effort. I highly recommend you try this recipe. If you do, let me know in the comments how it was.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Chicken - I love to use skinless boneless chicken thighs and legs but the boneless chicken breast will work too.
- Nuts - cashews are usually used to make butter chicken. But, you can use almonds just as well.
- Tomatoes - I've always used fresh tomatoes for this recipe but, you can also use ¼ cup tomato paste instead.
- Spices - The classic spices used are very Indian such as coriander, cumin, chili, and cayenne.
- Heavy cream - This is what gives the gravy that creamy texture. The trick is to make sure you do not boil the sauce once you add the cream otherwise the sauce will split.
- Butter - adds richness along with the cashew nuts.
- Marinate the chicken
- Sear the chicken
- Make the ground paste
- Combine the paste and the chicken
- Finish the cream sauce
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- Cutting Board
- Kitchen Knife
- Mixing bowl
- Saute Pan
- 500 grams (1.0 lb) Chicken skinless, boneless - cut into pieces
- 4 tbsp Cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne Hot chilie powder (optional)
- 2 tablespoon Tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black pepper
- ½ cup Heavy cream (25% fat or more)
- 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon Ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon Garlic paste
- 2 tablespoon Coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Chili powder or paprika (sweet or spicy)
- 1 tablespoon Fenugreek leaves dry (optional)
- 1¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black pepper
- 10 Cashew nuts
- 2 Cardamom pods
- 2 Garlic sliced
- 1 inch Ginger sliced
- 2 pieces Mace dried
- 2 large Tomato roughly chopped
- Marinate - Clean and cut chicken to bite size pieces. In a bowl, add all marinade ingredients to a bowl along with the chicken. Combine well and leave to marinate for an hour on the counter or up to overnight in the fridge. Pro tip - Use a glass bowl to marinate otherwise the acid in the glass will react with the metal.500 grams Chicken, 1 teaspoon Ginger paste, 1 teaspoon Garlic paste, 2 tablespoon Coriander powder, 1 teaspoon Cumin powder, ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon Chili powder, 1 tablespoon Fenugreek leaves, 1¼ teaspoon Salt, ¼ teaspoon Black pepper
- Sear chicken - In a saute pan, add 2 tablespoon oil. Saute the marinated chicken for 3 minutes stirring often. Once the chicken is no longer pink. Remove from the pan and set aside4 tablespoon Cooking oil
- Paste - In the same pan (no need to wash) Add the remaining oil and saute the whole spices and nuts. Then, add the ginger, garlic, and sliced tomatoes - saute for 3 minutes. Blend this to a smooth paste using a hand blender ( or mixer). Strain the sauce through a sieve. Pro tip - Use a little water if necessary to make a smooth paste. The smoother the paste the better the sauce.1 teaspoon Cayenne, 2 tablespoon Tomato paste, ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon Black pepper, 10 Cashew nuts, 2 Cardamom pods, 2 Garlic, 1 inch Ginger, 2 pieces Mace, 2 large Tomato
- Simmer - Return the sauce to the pan and bring it to a boil. Add the chili powder and tomato paste. Return the chicken back to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup water and simmer on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Sauce - Finally, add the cream and butter. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pro tip - Once you add the cream do not boil otherwise the sauce will curdle.½ cup Heavy cream, 2 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Serve over white rice, chapati, naan, or roti.
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A few years ago I went to India and was introduced to what is called an East Indian community. Food I have never seen in any Indian restaurant. Today, I was looking for something I ate there and came to your blog. OMG! I love that all these recipes are here. I am going to have fun making some of these. I must comment that you have an interesting way of writing recipes with pro tips. Fabulous and thank you.
Thank you, Samantha. Yes, you wouldn't usually get a restaurant with these recipes because the EI community is really small and so dispersed all over.