Easy Butter Chicken Recipe, my take on the classic Indian chicken curry that is popular all over the world. With a rich and heavenly creamy sauce and a fantastic blend of spices, this dish is one of the must-try easy family dinner recipes.
Few are the dishes that make such an impression on me from the very first time I try them. It wasn't until I moved to the UK some 13 years ago that I first tried a restaurant-style chicken curry. Coming from a country where strong spices are not really a thing, this was certainly different. Good different.
It did take me a while to get used to the heat, since I used to eat food that's rather plain. I knew I had to cook it myself, and so this easy chicken curry was created. My recipe is a well simplified one, and although I have used the basic spices, I decided to play safe and keep it mild, just the way I like it.
Now, the authentic Indian chicken curry may use a different cooking technique, and a lot more spices, but I must admit I'm kind of rubbish at buying a large variety of spices.
Still Romanian to the bones, I'm cautious not to add to much heat to my dishes, I really don't think I can handle spiciness too well. Maybe if I have spicy food for a while, I might get used to it a lot quicker, but I don't really eat spicy that often.
- chicken breasts - they can be swapped for chicken thighs or legs
- Greek yogurt - it can be swapped for plain yogurt
- Indian spices - you can go for more heat if you want, I quite like a mild version
- garlic - minced garlic works better for this dish, as the sauce needs to be smooth and creamy
- ginger paste - as with the garlic, minced works better
- tomato passata - it adds creaminess to the sauce, if you use chopped tomatoes,
Step-by-step photos and instructions
Although the name could make you think this recipe has butter in it, in actually hasn't. The chicken pieces are marinated in yogurt and spices, and the sauce is made with cream. Still, you get a superbly rich and delicious homemade chicken curry that tastes exactly like the one you get in a restaurant.
- In a bowl, add the yogurt, garlic, ginger and spices, add the chicken pieces, and mix well to coat.
- Cover with a clingfilm and refrigerate for at least one hour, ideally overnight.
- Heat up the oil in pan, add the chicken pieces and cook for about 6-7 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through.
Once the chicken is cooked, add the tomato passata, ginger, garlic, sugar, garam masala, and leave to cook for about 20 minutes until the sauce is reduced and it coats the chicken well.
Tips and FAQ
You can go for more spiciness if you like, depending on your family's taste buds. My little ones don't handle spicy food very well, so my curries are usually mild. But mild does not mean less taste, all on the contrary, I think there is a perfect balance between spices, at least for me.
When you add the cream to the sauce, make sure it's hot cold from the fridge, as the texture of the sauce might change - it is best to add a bit of the sauce to the cream, mix it together, then add the cream to the pan.
Marianate the chicken for as long as you can, the longer, the better, as the chicken will soak up all the flavours.
Butter chicken is supposed to be spiced, but not spicy. The curry sauce is mild and creamy, which makes it stand out from other curry sauces.
Butter chicken is amazing with rice, flatbread of any kind or poppadom.
In doesn't. The butter chicken sauce contains double cream / heavy cream, which makes it smooth, rich and creamy.
Other chicken curry recipes
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Easy Butter Chicken Recipe (Indian Style)
For the marinade
- 3 chicken breasts
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander (cilantro)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
For the sauce
- 2 cups tomato passata
- ½ cup double cream (heavy cream)
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- freshly-chopped coriander (cilantro) to garlish
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- To make the mariande, combine all the ingredients together, toss the chicken pieces in and mix well to coat.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm, and refrigerate for at least one hour, ideally longer.
- Heat up the oil in a large pan, and fry the chicken pieces on a medium heat for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through.
- Add the tomato passata, garlic and ginger paste, sugar and garam masala and give a good stir.
- Leave to cook on a low to medium heat for 20 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by almost a quarter, and it coats the chicken pieces well.
- Add the cream, mix well and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and garnish with freshly-chopped coriander leaves.
- To see the measurements in cups and ounces, please click on the US CUSTOMARY link.
- The amount of ingredients listed can be adjusted depending on the number of servings you need, just click on the number next to SERVINGS.
- You can go for more spiciness if you like, depending on your family's taste buds. My little ones don't handle spicy food very well, so my curries are usually mild. But mild does not mean less taste, all on the contrary, I think there is a perfect balance between spices, at least for me.
- When you add the cream to the sauce, make sure it's hot cold from the fridge, as the texture of the sauce might change - it is best to add a bit of the sauce to the cream, mix it together, then add the cream to the pan.
- Marianate the chicken for as long as you can, the longer, the better, as the chicken will soak up all the flavours.