Indian Butter Chicken

"This is my family's favourite butter chicken recipe - it came about after my youngest son stayed at a friends house and they bought Indian take-away. Youngest says this is just like the one he had at his friend's. This is one of favourite dishes. Butter chicken was created in the 1950s at the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi."
photo by Swirling F. photo by Swirling F.
photo by Swirling F.
photo by Swirling F. photo by Swirling F.
photo by Swirling F. photo by Swirling F.
photo by Summer83 photo by Summer83
photo by adamwa photo by adamwa
Ready In:




  • Heat a wok until really hot, add 1 Tbsp oil.
  • Add half the chicken and stir-fry for about 4 minutes or until chicken is a nice colour.
  • Remove to plate.
  • Add extra oil and cook remaining chicken.
  • Remove from wok.
  • Reduce heat and add the butter.
  • When melted add all of the spices and stir-fry until fragrant- about 1 minute.
  • Return chicken to wok and stir to coat with the spices.
  • Add the tomato and sugar and simmer for 15 minutes- stir occasionally.
  • Add the yogurt, cream and lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens a bit.
  • Serve over rice.
  • **This dish can be frozen. After step nine cool completely then store in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. To reheat, thaw in bag in fridge overnight then add contents to saucepan. Reheat gently, then simmer for 8 minutes - add the yoghurt, cream and lemon juice and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Questions & Replies

  1. Why aren't all the ingredients listed in US sizes, ie the amount of butter and the size of the tomatoes?


  1. Here are the US measurements: 1/4 cup butter 2.2 lbs chicken 15 oz tomato puree
  2. Fast, easy, very good! I used sour cream since I had no yoghurt - it was delicious. Thanks so much for posting this.
  3. We absolutely adored this dish! Funny story... My brother-in-law lives in India, and he flew in for a suprise visit the same night that I was cooking this. He knocked on our door and came inside and the first thing he said was 'it smells like you're cooking Indian food in here'. What a coincidence :) He passed however, and exclaimed that he was 'ready to eat some American food for once' - LoL :D I made and used Recipe #82968 and instead of cardamom pods (couldn't find any!) I used 6 teaspoons of ground cardamom. I served this with Recipe #193082. Perfect!
  4. Tastes just like restaurant butter chicken-delicious. An easy to follow recipe that we both loved so much thank you!
  5. I just made this. My husband and I didn't think it was as good as the Butter Chicken we have had in restaurants. The tomato taste was stronger than the restaurants and it wasn't very spicy. It needs something else in it.


  1. I cooked the chicken in butter instead of peanut oil, I added in a tablespoon of cayenne pepper for heat, used 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon instead of a stick, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom instead of pods, regular ginger instead of green ginger, and I substituted sour cream because they were out of small containers of plain yogurt at the store. Still turned out amazing!
  2. I used sunflower oil instead of peanut, replaced the 400g tomato puree with 70grams tomato paste and a cup water, used unsalted butter and about 700 grams chicken breast. The rest I followed to the letter. It was excellent, very quick and easy. The flavours work very well together and develop during the eating! This will be a standard meal for us now. Thanks for posting!
  3. Incredibly good! I love Indian food but have never dared making anything on my own until I saw this and had to try it while I was making meals ahead to freeze. I froze half (stopping after step 9, as instructed), but it smelled *so* good that I just had to put the other half in the fridge to have today. Very easy, even for a complete beginner like me. As good as any dish I've had at an Indian restaurant. I couldn't find cardamom pods, but I did find a spice that included it along with the corriander, so I used that this time. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I will hunt down the pods. Still delicious anyway. Tastes just as fragrantly delicious as it smells. BF said 5 stars, too! ************************************ Update April 2008: I have made this more times than I can count, and it is a real winner. The directions for freezing are perfect, and since you still add some fresh ingredients, it still tastes very fresh. I've finally found cardamom pods, but I will probably just use about 3 or so because they are kind of strong. I've also substituted boneless skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breasts, and I think those might be even better. To save on calories, I've also made this substituting half the cream with 1% milk, and it was still fabulous. This recipe continues to be a favorite because no matter what I do to it to change it up, it is always wonderful and always a favorite. (Some conversions that helped non-metric me: 1 kg=2.2 lbs, 50 g butter= approx 1/4 cup)
  4. I made this for dinner tonight and it made my house smell wonderful while it was cooking. The aroma of the spices made me want to cook it forever while I was cooking it. I substituted the sweet paprika with black pepper powder and canned tomato puree with 3 cups of fresh tomato puree. The only ingrdient I would like to use less next time is the green cardamom. I used 7 pods this time, but next time I'll use about 3-4. It's a good chicken curry and went very well over white rice. Thanks for sharing!


Happy mum of three, stepmum to two, grandmother of one. My favourite hobbies are gardening, sewing, fishing, bush walking, cooking and hanging out with my family. :)
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