Butter Chicken | Murg Makhani – Restaurant Style

Murg Makhani, literally means Butter Chicken!
Synonymous with Indian Food, Butter Chicken is world famous and rightly so. The “Butter” or the “Makhani” part in the name of the dish, is for two reasons, the fact that it has butter in it but also because the gravy is smooth like butter! Butter Chicken or Murg Makhani, is primarily made in Northern India and Pakistan and associated with ‘North Indian Cuisine”.

Usually, a Tandoor is needed to cook the chicken to add to the gravy, makes it hard to replicate the flavors and aromas at home, here we have 2 options to get that smokey authentic tandoor aroma. In the video we show you how to get that smokey flavor infused in the Butter chicken with some coal or Liquid Smoke is available at a lot of grocery stores and VOILA!
We had filmed this recipe when we just started our “Show Me The Curry” journey in 2007, yes, it has been that long! It did really well and is one of those recipes that we have used over and over again for ourselves and we realized that even after so many years, there is little we would change in that recipe! The other day, we were talking and we looked at the video and we could barley watch it – not only was it SD but also, since we were just starting out, we realized we could do a lot better now! Sp presenting to you, the new version of an old classic!
Here is the link to the older recipe and the video, please watch at your own risk!

Scroll to the bottom for video

Marination Time: min 30 min – overnight
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 4-6

Chicken Makhani:

Chicken – 1.5 lbs, thighs work best, boneless or bone-in
Lime Juice – 1 tbsp
– Cut the Chicken to desired size pieces.
– Mix the Lime Juice and Chicken.
– Allow the Chicken to marinate with Lime till you work on the marinade.

For the Marinade:
Yogurt – 1/2 cup, we used Greek Yogurt, you can use hung yogurt or thick yogurt
Ginger & Garlic Paste – 1 Tbsp
Tandoori Masala – 1 Tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
Red Chili Powder – 1/2 tsp or to taste
Paprika – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1 Tbsp
– Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade.

– Combine the Chicken and the Marinade.
– Mix well and cover and all the Chicken to marinate overnight or at least 30 minutes.

Cook Chicken
– Move rack close to the heating element.
– Preheat oven to broil.
– Use a Broil Tray, and line the lower tray with aluminum foil for easy cleaning.
– Coat the top tray with some Oil
– Layer the top tray with the Chicken in a single layer.
– Place in the oven as close to the element (without it touching).
– Broil for approximately 10 minutes, but keep an eye on it – you should see a few charing spots.
– Carefully, take the tray out and turn the Chicken so it cooks on the underside.
– Place back in the oven, on broil high for approximately 7 minutes, again, looking for some charing.
– Once done, remove and transfer the Chicken to a bowl and cover and keep aside till ready to use.
– There may be liquid in the bottom tray, save the liquid to add to gravy.

For the Gravy:
Tomatoes – 3 large, pureed
Garlic – 2 large cloves
Ginger – 1″ piece
Unsalted Butter – 1.5 tbsp
Cinnamon Stick – 1″ pc.
Bay Leaf – 1
Green Cardamom – 2
Big Cardamom – 1
Salt – 1/2 tsp or to taste
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Red Chili Powder – 1/4 tsp or to taste
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Dried Methi Leaves (Kasoori Methi) – 1 tbsp
Water – 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup
Dried Methi Leaves (Kasoori Methi) – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 2 tsp or to taste
Heavy Whipping Cream – 1 cup
– Blend the Tomatoes, Ginger and Garlic in a smooth puré.
– On medium heat, heat a pan with Butter, Oil, Cinnamon Stick, Bay Leaf, Black & Green Cardamom.
– Allow the Butter and Oil to heat up.
– Pour in the Tomato, Ginger and Garlic Puree.
– Add in Salt and mix.
– Allow the Tomato Puree to cook down and the Oil to seperate.
– Cover the pan with a lid or a splatter guard to avoid a mess.
– Add in the spices – Turmeric, Red Chili Powder, Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder and Garam Masala.
– Mix well and allow the spices to mix into the Tomato mixture.
– Add 1/4 cup Water and mix it in so that the spices don’t burn.
– Using your palms, roughly crush the Kasoori Methi and mix into the paste.
– Add in the Chicken and the reserved liquid (from the Chicken). Mix.
– Add the balance of the Water (1/2 cup or as needed). Allow it to come to a boil.
– Reduce heat and add in Heavy Cream and Sugar. Mix.
– Cover and allow the dish to come to a slow boil.

For Smokey Tandoor Experience
Coal – 1 piece
Ghee or Oil – 1/4 tsp
Liquid Smoke – few drops or to taste
– Heat Coal on flame.
– Put into a steel bowl and carefully place into the pan with Chicken.
– Drop Ghee or Oil on the hot coal and put the lid on the pan immediately.
– Allow the smoke to infuse into the dish for about 5-7 minutes.
– Once done, remove carefully and discard.
– If using Liquid Smoke, add to the marinade mentioned above or add to the gravy. Follow the rest of the recipe as is.

Cilantro – for garnish
Heavy Cream – for Garnish
Butter – for garnish
– Garnish with any or all of the above and serve.

Butter Chicken or as we like to call it, Murg Makhani, goes best with Naans but you can enjoy it with Chapatis, Rotis, Parathas or with Basmati Rice!

– Don’t have access to a broiler dish? – no problem…use metal skewers or wooden ones (soaked) or just barbeque them on the grill.
– Use Chicken Breast instead of Chicken Thighs, but make sure you baste the Chicken Breasts while broiling or they will dry up.
– Use Oil instead of Butter.
– Substitutes for Heavy Whipping Cream – Half and Half, Evaporated Milk, Lactaid, Milk or Milk Powder (so you can control the water).

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10 thoughts on “Butter Chicken | Murg Makhani – Restaurant Style

  1. You make a paste of garlic and ginger combined. Add 4 tsp of this paste.

    Cardamom is a small pod with seed inside. I usually crush it.
    I generally remove bay leaf and cardamom before I serve the dish.

    1. Hi Berrien,
      Well, it is good to remove the cardamoms and the bay leaf, for kids and if you are serving to anyone not familiar about not eating them. We grew up used to picking bay leaves, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, out of our curries, it does not strike us to mention that anymore ?.
      Thanks for the little reminder.
      Happy Cooking!

  2. Is the 4 tsp of ginger and garlic paste 4 tsp each or total of the 2?
    Is the green cardamon and big cardoman a seed or a pod? Do you crush it or does it disintegrate while cooking?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Lisa,
      It is a total amount.

      The cardamoms are in the pod, and if you crush them just a bit, they impart more flavor. Typically, we don’t eat them (nothing wrong if you do) and have a very strong and intense flavor so discard them (keep them aside) if we get one in our plates. Alternatively, you can discard the whole spices once you have finished cooking (before serving).
      Happy Cooking!

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