Indian Butter Chicken

We eat a lot of chicken in the house. Thighs, drumsticks, back legs, wings, whole chicken……Besides it’s easy and versatile to make, it’s also the only food Ethan won’t throw a drama over the dinner table most of the time. And so I have to keep up with varieties in terms of cooking it.

I found this recipe the other day. This is such an easy dish to make. Flavourful and beautiful.

When I put this dish on table, I said to my husband, “You know, this is Indian.” He replied, “Of course, I know.” I was a little surprised about his being knowledgeable to food considering he usually doesn’t know or remember what he eats. Then I realized that his parents were born in India. He’s figuratively an Indian. Now, I figure out why Ethan ate so much that evening.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 to 3 lime wedges
a handful of cilantro, chopped

In a large sautee pan coated with olive oil, cook the onions, jalapeno, ginger, and garlic over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly browned.
Add the garam masala, chili powder, cardamom, and coriander. Cook for two more minutes, stirring frequently.
Scrape the onion and spice mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add the tomato paste and chicken broth and process until smooth.
Add the puree back into the sautee pan and add the bay leaves and heavy cream. Let come to a boil and reduce heat and let simmer until it has reduced to about 3 cups. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir frequently. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
Dry the chicken well with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Preheat a clean pan to high. Add the chicken and 1 tablespoon butter. Cook the chicken until it starts to brown and turns opaque. About 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the sauce back to the pan and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. Add the remaining butter to the sauce and stir until it is melted and incorporated.
Squeeze lime juice over and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.


  1. Great dish! Just finished several helpings… this was my first attempt at indian food, and I, like another poster, was intimidated because of the long list of ingredients but yes, once you get past that, this is a fabulous dish! I have always loved butter chicken and done everything from take-out to Trader Joe’s frozen meal… now I’m so glad I can whip it up on my own! Thanks for the recipe :-)

  2. This is definitely my favorite recipe that I’ve tried in a long time. My fiance and I just finished it and have already decided to cook it again next week when we have friends over. Anyone reading this recipe, make it RIGHT NOW. Thanks so much for sharing, lululu!

  3. Hi lululu,
    I’m a regular visitor to your lovely blog and I’ve been following you for quite sometime now!I really like your beautiful way of writing and the memoirs that you write for you kids will be an enjoyable read for them one day when they grow up,I’m sure!

    I was looking around for nice dessert recipes sometime back and your blog definitely had some lovely cake recipes!Have added links to a couple of your posts to my blog for this round-up.Here goes the link:

    I see that you are into Indian recipes as well and I do have some of them on my space.So do care to drop in sometime…Happy Holidays and wish you and yours a great New Year ahead!Take care!

  4. I always found Indian food so intimidating until one day I realized it’s because there’s so many ingredients! Once I got past that it seemed pretty simple. This sounds so yummy and now I have a craving for butter chicken!

  5. We just had Indian yesterday for lunch! I love the flavors of Indian cuisine but have never made it myself.. I may have to try this recipe very soon! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. This seems really good..I agree with Melissa, I feel like I have always been kind of apprehensive when it comes to Indian food. This looks too good not to try though!

  7. I always found Indian food so intimidating until one day I realized it’s because there’s so many ingredients! Once I got past that it seemed pretty simple. This sounds so yummy and now I have a craving for butter chicken!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *