Butter chicken

Butter chicken

Butter chicken masala

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

The classic butter chicken from North India, chicken makhani, is a bit different as well as a bit more subtle than this. The butter chicken masala of Bombay is so well known it does not even have any other Indian term for it. Ideally use the cooked chicken tikka recipe in this book but you could instead marinate 4 cubed chicken breasts in 4 heaped tablespoons of thick plain yoghurt with 1 tablespoon of tandoori paste and then grill it like the tikka. Butter chicken in Bombay was made famous by the one and only Delhi Durbar restaurant. Please do not think of calories when cooking this dish as the word does not exist here!


Quantity Ingredient
40g butter
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g tomato puree
1/2 lime, juiced
5-7.5 cm piece fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped, (plus 1–2 extra, split and added for flavour, optional)
200ml double cream
Murgh tikka
1 tablespoon coriander, chopped


  1. Heat the butter in a kadai, wok or large deep frying pan until it foams.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the chilli powder, sugar and salt, stir well and put back onto the heat, stirring and cooking for a minute or so, then add the tomato purée and lime juice and cook for 2 minutes over a low heat, stirring well.
  3. Add the ginger, half the cumin and the chopped chillies and cook over a low heat until the butter separates slightly. Add the split chillies, if using, and the cream and simmer for 6–8 minutes. Discard the split chillies.
  4. Add the cooked chicken tikka meat, and heat through until piping hot. Taste and re-season, if necessary. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and the remaining toasted ground cumin.
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