Butter chicken is the most popular Indian curry – everyone knows about it, most people order it and love eating it. Is it the creamy tomato sauce, the way the chicken melts in your mouth or could it be that butter chicken has all the spice and flavour we love a curry to be, without being overly hot to the palette? Apart from the chicken and spinach curry I made recently, which was the mildest curry we’ve ever eaten, butter chicken would just have to be that good all-rounded curry, that satisfies everyone’s needs.
Have you ever had butter chicken and been disappointed? I’ve tried a few butter chickens in my time, both at home and in restaurants and have been a bit disappointed with what I’ve eaten. The curries I’ve had were either too tomato based or they tasted of raw spice (yukk! The spices weren’t cooked off properly!) I’ve had butter chicken that was either too spicy or had no flavour at all! I couldn’t win! But I think I’ve found and made the perfect butter chicken.
A lot of people think that butter chicken and chicken tikka masala are the same curry but actually, they are quite different. Butter chicken – or as they call it in India, Murgh Makhani, be careful ordering butter chicken in India as they may look at you a little funny! – uses raw chicken cooked in the sauce/gravy whereas chicken tikka masala uses chicken that’s been marinated in a yogurt spice blend then grilled before being added to the gravy/sauce.
As you may or may not know, I occasionally experiment with making curries from scratch. Since I’ve gone back to school, I find that I need to take some shortcuts and make meals that don’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. I now understand what my sister says when she’s looking for quick dinner ideas – there’s just never enough time in the day! This butter chicken is now our go-to curry when we feel like something that’s tasty and spicy but are time poor!
There are so many butter chicken recipe base or blend brands that are readily available on our supermarket shelves. Sharwoods, Pataks, Marion’s Kitchen, Maggi’s and Masterfoods are some that come to mind. They’re all great alternatives to making butter chicken from scratch so give them a try. Or if you can get your hands on some No Worries Curries butter chicken spice blend, do yourself a favour and try it. It’s seriously the best butter chicken I’ve ever had! Big call I know but for a tasty dinner that’s easy and ready on the table in just over an hour, there’s no going past this butter chicken recipe.
If you prefer to cook your butter chicken from scratch here’s a couple of recipes that caught my eye while researching butter chicken. Kidspot kitchen’s butter chicken is family friendly. Paleo eating is very popular at the moment and I thought Paleo Leap’s great clean eating butter chicken looked pretty amazing too. Madhur Jaffrey and Rick Stein’s cookbook offer some pretty amazing butter or tikka chicken dishes, which are quite complex in ingredients but sounds fantastic. Let me know what you think or if you’ve tried them I’d love to hear from you.
A big thank you goes out to Julie Goodwin (Masterchef Australia, series one winner) for allowing me to use her butter chicken photo (pictured above). How good does this easy butter chicken look!?
Also thank you to Bee at Rasa Malyasia who has a gorgeous looking butter chicken (pictured above) that I’m looking forward to trying when I have some extra time up my sleeve!
TIP 1: I love Greek yogurt in this curry as it adds the tang needed for butter chicken. Using cream, coconut milk, sour cream or a plain yogurt (non-sweet) are all perfect alternatives. Use whatever is in your fridge of pantry.
TIP 2: For an alternative to peanuts or slivered almonds (they were all I had in my pantry at the time and they worked perfectly) feel free to use cashews or even almond meal. Experiment and let me know how it turns out. I know people who love roasted pistachios.
TIP 3: Jarred minced garlic is something I buy rarely and keeps well in the fridge. I find that using two to three garlic cloves to make one tablespoon of minced garlic, can be quite overpowering in your curry but if you like lots of garlic please try it.
TIP 4: Coriander is usually the preferred garnish for most curries but I used parsley as that’s all I had in my fridge. Parsley is a great substitute if you don’t like or have any coriander.
PREP: 20 minutes COOK: 1 hour and 15 minutes SERVES: 4 adults
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup peanuts and slivered almonds
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon jarred minced garlic
2cm piece (½ tablespoon) fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon butter
2½ tablespoons No Worries Curries butter chicken spice blend
½ cup water
4 (530 grams) free range chicken thighs, skinless and roughly cubed
1 tin (400 grams) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup Greek yogurt
6 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
Fry, stirring frequently, until golden in colour. Remove from the pan, leaving as much of the butter in the pan as you can and set the nuts aside to cool.
Once the nuts have cooled, place in a grinder, food processor or I used my attachment bowl and stick blender and blitz until resembles breadcrumbs. Set aside until needed.
Add the onions, garlic and ginger into the frypan with nut butter and fry for 5-6 minutes.
Once the onion has softened, add the butter until melted.
Add the spice blend, stirring until well combined and a paste has formed. Add the water, a little at a time, to loosen the paste. Cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant.
Place the chicken in the pan and stir to coat with the spice mixture.
Pour in the tomatoes along with the salt and ground nuts. Mix well and allow to simmer for 50 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid 10-15 minutes before serving to thicken up slightly.
Remove from heat and stir through the lemon juice. Top with yogurt and parsley.
Serve immediately with steamed rice. Delicious!
A big thank you goes out to Lucy at Bake, Play, Smile for another inspiring linkup party #12. Why don’t you come join us!?