How to prepare Butter Chicken [Murgh Makhani] ?

For this dish, you are supposed to first prepare tandoori chicken and make sure there is enough left over for this equally popular chicken cooked in a saffron scented creamy sauce. This is a simple method and just as good.

File:Chicken makhani.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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Serves 6 with rice


  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 3 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala (page 168)
  • ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
  • 1½ tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon saffron strands or ¼ teaspoon saffron powder
  • 6 chicken thigh cutlets (bone in, skin on) or 750 g (1½ lb) thigh fillets, diced
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 250 ml (8 fl oz/1 cup) tomato pur?e
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) cream
  • fresh coriander sprigs


To make the Marinade, combine all the ingredients. Rub over the chicken thighs or fillets. Cover and leave for at least 30 minutes. Heat the ghee in a heavy frying pan and brown the joints on both sides, or fry the diced chicken till no longer pink. Add the tomatoes or tomato pure, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Add sugar and cream and stir well. Serve garnished with sprigs of fresh coriander.

Make double or triple quantities of the Marinade and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a month, or use Charmaine Solomon’s Butter Chicken Marinade, which contains all the ingredients you’ll need. Either way, use 4 tablespoons for 6 thigh cutlets or 3 tablespoons for 750 g diced fillets. Proceed from the second line of the method.

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