Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani Gravy


Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani is a classic Indian curry made with tandoori chickens in a thick slow cooked tomato and cream gravy. This curry is very famous in restaurants and roadside dhabas, and also for foreigners, who once tasted have become fan of this classic indian curry. This smooth and creamy curry is a favorite for one and all pallets. 

This is widely famous across the globe, and people love pairing it wil butter naan or masala kulchas and simply love it. History of butter chicken is said to be rooted in the days of inception of moti mahal in delhi and since then seen many adaptations, but the base remains the same, tandoori chicken in a creamy tomato gravy. 

I picked up this book “World Cuisine : India (1) part of the world cookbook collection” with recipes from Sanjay Dwivedi(Zaika Restaurant, London) and J.P.Singh (Bukhara Restaurant, Delhi).

The murgh makhani recipe looked easy, i had all the ingredients handy, and it looked divine, for once i was convinced to use food color in my food. And what a success it was. The first quest for the so called best ever makhani gravy started when Sid of Chef at Large introduced me to one of his best creations, i was bowled over by that recipe and love it till date, but this one has my favorite onions! and this is definitely a killer. The description was not very accurate in the book, but was good enough for me to follow, will try to better it here.


  • 4 chicken breasts / 4 leg pieces cleaned and thawed if frozen 
  •  For the marination
  • 3/4 cup yoghurt
  • 1 inch ginger cube finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red food color (i used rouge red used in baking )
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • For the gravy
  • 5-6 peeled and chopped and pureed tomatoes
  • 3 onions pureed
  • 1 inch cube of ginger finely chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 75 gms butter
  • 100-150 gms fresh cream 
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds(methi)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp food coloring(optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • chopped coriander or spring onions for garnish


  1. Mix all the ingredients of marination in a small bowl, so as to take the chicken pieces, and then add the chicken pieces, rub the marination well into the chicken pieces by your hands, let it marinate for 3-4 hrs in the refrigerator. I never have the time to marinate, hence you can marinate the chicken when you start and you would be good. 
  2. Once marinated, drain off any excess liquid from the chicken and oven roast it at 220C and for 10-12 minutes, turning it around once in between. 
  3. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, and add the onion puree and let it fry till it changes it color to a very light brown. 
  4.  Meanwhile crush the ginger garlic in a mortar pestle and make a mice paste, add this to the onion on the pan and let it cook, in a while the raw smell of ginger garlic will go off. 
  5. Now add the salt, and paprika and garam masala and fenugreek seeds and fry for 30 seconds. 
  6. Now add the tomato and let it fry and turn darker in color, this should happen in the next 4-5 minutes, keep stirring occasionally, and maintain a medium high flame. 
  7. At this stage i prefer to blend the masala by a hand blender in the same kadhai by turning off the heat, you may wish to skip this step altogether, but it just makes the gravy looks more smoother. 
  8. Now add the butter and the fresh cream, and mix till the color of the gravy looks consistent, the food color is for this stage, if the natural color is not satisfactory, add it here, the tomatoes i get are not as red, so i felt like adding the color. 
  9. Now add the oven roasted chicken pieces to this gravy and stir till its covered well with the gravy. 
  10. Cover the chicken with a lid and lower the heat and let it cook for 15 minutes, checking it in between every 5 minutes. 
  11.  The recipe asked for adding lemon juice and sugar at this stage, but i thought the gravy was just perfect to be interfered by any other flavor. 
  12. Don’t omit the oven roasting step, since that adds a different dimension to the dish.

Savor it with some hot parathas or some peas pulav!
This is my day 28 into the December Blogging Marathon. Few more days, i already felt the void by missing yesterday, but i wanted to get my timing right. 
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