Explore Indian Spices

Discover the Flavor Profile of Butter Chicken

Article by Cheryl Parton

Photography by Charles Deluvio

Originally published in Bend Lifestyle

Known for its rich combination of spices, Butter Chicken, also called murgh makhni, combines spiced tomatoes with tender chicken in a discovery of Punjabi flavors.



1 lb. Chicken cut into 1-inch squares

1 tsp. Red chili powder

1 Tbs. Fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. Salt


1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tsp. Ginger, freshly grated or ginger paste

2 tsp. Garlic paste

½ tsp. Red chili powder

1 tsp. Garam masala

1 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Vegetable oil

2 Tbs. Butter (plus more for roasting chicken)

4 Green cardamom pods, crushed

½ tsp. Ground mace

1 tsp. Red chili powder

5 Cloves garlic, chopped

1-inch piece of Fresh ginger, minced

12 Medium tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp. Dried fenugreek

1 tsp. Salt

1 Tbs. Honey

3 Tbs. Heavy cream

1.) Place chicken, one tsp. chili powder, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Refrigerate 30 minutes while preparing marinade. Then, combine marinade ingredients and add prepared chicken to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

2.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt 2-3 Tbs. butter. Place chicken on a baking sheet, roast for 10 minutes. Baste with butter, stir, and bake for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

3.) Melt one tablespoon butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add cardamom and mace, and cook several minutes. Stir in chili powder and water. Then add garlic, ginger and tomatoes. Cook 20 minutes over medium heat until tomatoes become pulpy. Strain the mixture and transfer solids to a food processor to blend until smooth. Strain a second time and discard any solids, such as cardamom pods. In a second saucepan, add the remaining one tablespoon butter and melt. Then, slowly add strained sauce. Add fenugreek, salt, honey and cream, then chicken. Serve with rice or naan.

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