Butter Chicken Masala

Butter Chicken Masala

Let’s get started with some really delicious and healthy butter chicken masala recipe.

It is the definition of perfection and probably one of the most famous Indian curries worldwide. You cannot beat butter chicken masala when paired with some vegetable pulao or garlic naan. Although it might come to you as a surprise that butter chicken masala was an accidental invention. I mean all the good things are accidentally invented right?

Butter Chicken has traveled a long way!

Now I am saying it is accidental since as we all know that butter chicken is made out of leftover tandoori chicken. That is exactly what happened in a restaurant called Moti Mahal in 1947Click here to read more about its history!

The cooks ended up mixing leftover chicken in a tomato gravy which was rich in butter and cream. An official recipe was published in 1974 and it was named as Murgh Makhani. The recipe stated that tandoori chicken cooked in butter and tomato sauce is known as Murgh Makhani. 

In the year 1975, it was named as “Butter Chicken” and it first appeared in a print, as the speciality of the house at Gaylord Indian restaurant in Manhattan. 

In Australia and New Zealand, it is also used as a filling for a pie and eaten. Probably one of the most famous dishes around the world which was invented in India.

That was a brief history and origin story of how Butter Chicken came into existence. And from then it has evolved and travelled to a lot of countries. Still tastes amazing even with hundreds of recipe alterations. That is why it’s so so famous and adaptable.

My version of Butter Chicken

I will be very honest here, there is no doubt that I love butter chicken. But there is only one thing I always wanted to change about it. And that is because I have a palate for more spicy and flavourful dishes and not that I am saying butter chicken is not. 

It is just that Butter Chicken tends to have a very sweet taste because of all the fresh cream and tomatoes we use. And that is the only thing I changed and my version of Butter Chicken Masala.

As you can say from the name that I have made it more masaledar and nothing much. Also, you might come upon me for not adding cashews in this recipe but feel free to add it. I just did not add since it gives a sweet taste to the gravy.

So without any further delay let us jump into the recipe and its main components.

The Makhani Gravy for butter chicken masala

In the second year of my culinary school, I was taught all about Indian cuisine and the basic gravies. There are five basic gravies in Indian cuisine and one of them is Makhani gravy. 

Traditionally Makhani gravy is made out of spices, tomatoes, Kasuri methi, and a lot of butter. And is always finished with some fresh cream.

For this recipe, I have just added one more ingredient that is an onion. I just feel like onion and tomato is an unbeatable pair and they do really well in any dish if used together.

There are two ways you can start cooking the ingredients for this gravy. First one is to boil them in water for around 45 minutes to 1 hour. But I chose to saute them in a pan. I just like to caramelise the onions a little bit and I just feel that we get a better flavour than boiling.

onion tomato masala

Once you boil all the components or saute them in a pan now it’s time to grind it into a fine puree.


Once you grind into a fine puree it is time to strain it. You can skip it if you want but I would highly recommend you to strain it. Since it eliminates all the seeds and the skin of tomatoes which is harmful to your digestive system if consumes in the long run.

And then again you start cooking the same puree in some butter until it’s cooked properly and the oil and butter float on top. That is basically an indication that your gravy is cooked properly.

Now let us get started with chicken for this murgh makhani

The main problem that we face with the chicken is that we don’t have a tandoor at home. But I guess most of us have an oven at home. Instead of cooking the chicken in tandoor in this recipe, we will cook it in the oven.

Marination of the chicken

marinate chicken

I would highly recommend you to buy your chicken one day prior to cooking it. And that’s what I always do because that makes sure that the chicken gets enough time to rest and it becomes tender naturally in the fridge.

Cooking chicken on the same day when you buy it fresh is the worst thing you can do. No matter how much you marinate the chicken, it will end up dry.

So the basic marination is just lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, hung yoghurt and a little garam masala, that’s all you need. Also to take care of the seasoning add some salt and black pepper if you like it.

Let it marinate for at least 2 hours then add some mustard oil and mix again. Now roast it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 250 degrees Celcius.

roasted chicken

Make sure that you let it roast until its charred a little bit and that way you get a smoky flavour too.

Finishing the Butter Chicken Masala

finishing butter chicken

You might think that the other two components are more important but I see finishing of the butter chicken as a more important part in the whole process.

You need three ingredients to finish this dish. Butter, fresh cream and some lightly toasted Kasuri methi.

After you are done roasting the chicken and your gravy is ready to cook them together for about 15 more minutes and then finish wit some fresh cream, butter and crushed Kasuri methi. Please do not skip the Kasuri methi at all and you will thank me later.

Yield: 6

Butter Chicken Masala

Butter Chicken Masala
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


For Chicken

  • 500 g Chicken
  • 200 g Hung Yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • Salt as required
  • 1 Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala

For Gravy

  • 20 ml of Mustard Oil
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 inch Ginger
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • Salt as required
  • 3 Cardamom
  • 5 Cloves
  • 5 inch Cinnamon
  • 50 g Butter
  • 100 g Fresh Cream
  • 1 tspn Chat Masala
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri Red Chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tbsp Toasted Kasuri Methi


  1. Firstly marinate the chicken with all the ingredients mentioned above and then let it marinate for about 2 hours.marinate chickenmarinated chicken
  2. Once it is marinated for 2 hours, roast it in the oven at 250 degree Celsius for about 30 to 35 minutes.roasted chicken
  3. Make sure it is a little charred so that you get the smoky flavour that we get from traditional tandoori chicken.
  4. Now for the gravy, in a pan take some mustard oil and then add your chopped tomatoes, onions, ginger, and garlic. Cook everything until caramelized lightly.makhani gravy for butter chicken
  5. Now let it cool and then grind it into a fine paste.makhani gravy for butter chicken masala
  6. In the same pan take some more mustard oil and butter and add cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and let them crackle.whole spices crackling
  7. Once the whole spices crackle and the tomato paste that you had made earlier and now let it cook until the butter and mustard oil separates from the gravy and floats on top. That indicates that the tomatoes in the gravy are cooked properly.
  8. Now add the dry spices like chat masala, Kashmiri red chilli powder, garam masala, and also salt if required.
  9. Give it a mix and add your roasted chicken and let it cook for another 15 minutes.butter chicken masala
  10. Now add fresh cream, butter, and lightly toasted Kasuri methi. And that's about it, once everything is combined take it off the flame.finishing butter chicken


  • Make sure that you buy your chicken one day prior to cooking it so that it gets enough time to rest and get tender.
  • Always add the Kasuri methi after you lightly toast it and crush it so that it releases all its flavour in the gravy.
  • Never cook the gravy for too long after adding the cream because it might split.
  • Make sure that you use some hung curd otherwise, there is a high chance that the curd will not stick to the chicken and you will not end up with some tandoori chicken.
  • Make sure that you pass the tomato sauce through a sieve after you grind it so that all the seeds and the skin is separated and you get a better texture.
  • Also, if you want to add some cashew nuts in the gravy add them while you saute the onions and tomatoes and grind together.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 440Total Fat 30gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 118mgSodium 494mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 4gSugar 9gProtein 25g

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