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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Butter Chicken

The first time I ate butter chicken was on my brother in law's birthday bash. My sis brought home a take away package as I didnt go as my little was still too small at the time and the birthday bash was held at night.  Acchar Poppadums  an Indian  restaurant in Male' ,where the birthday bash was held, served a really delicious butter chicken.
I wanted to try the recipe and  after much searching,  found a recipe on  one of the  cook books I had.  Although I do wonder why they call it butter chicken. The cream I used kept curdling when I follow the exact recipe instructions where the sauce is made by boiling the tomato and cream mixture  so I added the cream after the tomato mixture had boiled a little and then whisked in the cream.  I tried it three times with three different creams we get here from Maldives, all three showed the same kind of curdling. Oh and when you buy cream make sure  use a cream that doesn't contain sugar, I discovered a cream that had added sugar, unfortunately discovered it after I  added it to a savory dish!!.

Recipe Butter Chicken  recipe adapted from Family Circle 's Curry and Chilli cookbook

2 boneless, skin less chicken breast ( about 500g)
juice of 1/2 lime
125ml plain yogurt ( unsweetened)
1 small onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic
1" ginger grated
1 -2 green chillies ( optional especially if making for kids)
3 tsp garam masala  ( store bought if you want to make your own you can try this recipe)
a fer drops red food colouring
a few drops yellow food colouring
2 heaped tsp tomato paste ( I used concentrated tomato paste)
1 1/2 to 2 cups water
sugar ( nice big pinch)
1/2 - 1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp freshly ground cumin
2 tsp ghee or butter
1/3 cup thickened or cooking cream or  1/2 can of Nestle cream
handful fresh coriander leaves finely chopped ( optional)

Cut chicken into strips or slices about 1 cm , pat dry. season with a pinch of salt and juice of 1/2 lime.  Mix red and yellow  food colourings and mix into the chicken strips. set aside.

Make a the marinade for the chicken by blending yogurt, onions, green chillies, 1 1/2 tsp garam masala , garlic and ginger.  Mix into the chicken and arrange in a glass dish  or  zip lock bag and marinate for 4-6 hours or preferably over night.

After marinating preheat oven to gas mark 5 and arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer ( dont add any excess marinade).  Pop in the oven for 15-  20 minutes  till cooked through ( not hard and dry!) and has a lovely reddish colour. Take it out from the oven.

While the chicken is cooking you can prepare the sauce, Mix tomato paste into the  1 1/2 cups water along with 1 1/2 tsp garam masala, cumin and chilli powder. Melt butter or ghee in a small pan  add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil.

Let the mixture boil for 1-2 minutes, whisk in  cream simmer for  2 minutes, add the chicken pieces and add a little more water if you feel the gravy is too little (a bout 1/2 cup water would do).  Its a thick gravy so dont add too much water. Taste add salt and a little sugar .  Finally stir in finely chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with plain rice or  Rice and pea pilau.


  1. Love the gravy! Great to serve with bread or rice.

  2. This looks delicious. The cream may have curdled because the mixture was to hot when the cream was added

    Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

  3. butter chicken is always a hit at home... surprised i am yet to post it on my blog!!! hehe... looks really good...

  4. Yum, your butter chicken sounds and looks delicious Nammi...and I would love to have some rice to go with it.
    Hope you are having a great week :D


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