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Indian Butter Chicken

Sooooo much better with fresh spices! Don’y open a jar, this is a cinch to make with fragrant spices.

March 18, 2017

Indian Butter Chicken

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ingredients for four to six
1 x 250gm onion
2 x medium cloves garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup natural yoghurt
3 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cardamom
1½ Tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp salt
3 tsp garam masala
curry and sauce
800gm boneless skinless chicken thighs
150gm butter to make ghee
400gm tin crushed tomatoes
2 tsp soft brown sugar
150ml pouring cream
1 cup frozen baby peas
½ to ¾ tsp salt
pinch cracked black pepper
½ cup coriander leaves
to serve
1½ cups basmati rice
mango chutney (optional)
Indian flatbread (optional)


  1. To make paste peel and roughly chop onion. Crush garlic with side of knife and remove skin. Place onion and garlic in food processor bowl. Whizz to chop roughly. Add lemon juice, yoghurt, grated ginger and all spices to bowl. Process to form a paste.
  2. Cut chicken thighs into 4cm chunks and toss chicken in paste.
  3. Cover and marinate, for as long as you can (but ideally refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours).
  4. Make clarified butter (ghee). Gently heat butter in small saucepan or jug in microwave. Once melted and hot, remove from heat and allow to settle. Use the clear yellow liquid (ghee) on the top and discard milky white whey which settles underneath.
  5. Heat 3 tablespoons ghee in large shallow pan.
  6. When pan is hot, cook chicken with paste in a couple of batches over medium high heat, for 2 minutes each side.
  7. When coloured, remove from pan, do not allow to cook through.
  8. Once all chicken is sealed replace all into pan. Add any remaining paste from bowl into pan. Add crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, cream, salt and pepper.
  9. Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Add peas, heat for a couple of minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
  10. Finely chop coriander leaves and stir through butter chicken.
  11. Meanwhile cook basmati rice in 3 cups boiling salted water for 15 minutes, until tender and water has been absorbed.
  12. Serve rice with chicken and chosen accompaniments.

cooks notes:

  • All our recipes use Murray River Salt Flakes, if using granular salt adjust amounts down accordingly. Each salt yields a different volume in teaspoons due to shape difference.
  • Clarified butter, ghee, cooks at higher temperatures without burning than regular butter. This is because the whey separates from the fat and the whey is part of butter that is prone to burn as it contains a high amount of lactose sugar. Cooking in ghee adds silky texture and gloss to this dish.
  • Basmati rice cooks in 12 to 15 minutes, I find 20 minutes which is the recommended cooking time, too long. We like Sela Basmati available from Indian Groceries.
  • Use good quality spice such as Herbies brand to give extra stunning result – poor quality spice will result in sub-standard flavour. If your spice doesn’t have an aroma, it will have little or no flavour.

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Meet the team

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

View Tracey’s full profile.

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


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