As a family, we have savoured many a bowl of butter chicken with a host of accompaniments – roti, naan, roomali roti, chapathi, jeera rice and plain white rice. Since my son became a butter chicken convert after eating it at a small restaurant in Mumbai, the search for that perfect pot of succulent shreds of chicken dunked in creamy-spicy masala has been on. While we did find a suitable match in one of the restaurants in Karama, Dubai, the chef probably quit the place later and our search for that perfect bite was back on. We did try a few recipes at home and nothing came close. A month ago we were introduced to the perfect recipe and life has never been the same again! My husband has tried making it and then I made it a couple of times with several tweaks to the recipe. This is Chef Kunal Kapoor’s recipe which we found on his YouTube channel and I must say that we are his latest fans!
My son loved each of my attempts as the dish has this trademark taste and aroma and albeit the versions I made in the past were a tad too spicy, I managed to tone down the spice level a lot to what is generally accepted at home.
Over the years, several of my readers have requested me for a good recipe for this dish and I am glad that I can finally share my version of Chef Kunal’s lovely recipe. I would recommend you to tone down the spice a lot if you are going to serve this to kids. I hope you enjoy it!
This delicious restaurant style butter chicken recipe is the only one you need to recreate the magic of eating out! Serve it with naan, phulka, chapathi or rice and you have a winner for dinner!
- 500 grams boneless chicken
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon ginger & garlic paste
- salt to taste
- 4 tablespoons mustard oil
- 1/2 - 3/4th teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder adjust to taste
- 1 cup hung curd * see note
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 500 grams tomatoes approx 4 big ones
- 2 cups water
- 50 grams of onions about 1/2 of a medium sized onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 " stick of cinnamon or cassia bark
- 1 black cardamom
- 3 green cardamoms
- 3 cloves
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 " piece of fresh ginger
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 12 cashew nuts
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
- 1 green chilli slit (remove seeds to reduce the spice or skip it)
- 1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves kasuri methi
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh cream
If you are going to use homemade hung curd then prepare it first by placing 2 cups of thick curds/yogurt in a muslin cloth. Tie up the cloth into a bundle and hang it securely over your kitchen sink for about 50mins to 1 hour. The liquid will dribble away leaving you with thick, creamy hung curd. Proceed to step 2 if you are using storebought hung curd.
Wash the chicken and cut it into large, equal sized strips or chunks. Pat dry and transfer to a bowl. Marinate it with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'For the first marination' for about 20 minutes.
In the meanwhile, add all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the curry base' to a saucepan or wok and cook it for about 12-15 minutes or till the tomatoes turn mushy. Then take the pan off the heat and when the contents are cool enough, blend to a smooth puree. Pass this mixture through a fine strainer and keep it aside. Discard the chunkier bits from the strainer.
For the second marination, place all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the second marination' in a bowl and whisk it well. Squeeze out the chicken pieces from the first marination bowl and add to the second marination. Coat well and keep aside for another 15-20 minutes. Reserve the marination if any from the 'first marination' bowl. We will utilize it later.
Heat oil in a grill pan or a regular frying pan till it is smoking hot and fry the marinated chicken in batches. Do not discard the extra marination. Also, do not overcrowd the pan and do not fry on anything but high heat as the chicken will release a lot of its stock and we want to avoid this. Let the pieces cook on one side for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes before flipping them over and cooking for another 1-1/2 minutes or so. Remove on a plate lined with an absorbent kitchen tissue. Once all the chicken has been fried and the pieces have cooled down a bit, shred them into smaller pieces.
Heat the butter and some oil in a heavy based kadai/wok. Add the minced ginger & slit green chilli and fry on a low heat for half a minute. Then add the pureed gravy (curry base) and cook on a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Check the taste of the gravy and add the reserved second marination in parts. You may also add some from the first marination. Don't add salt at this point as once the fried & shredded chicken is added the gravy may taste too salty.
Crush the dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) between your palms and add it. Add the sugar too. Add the shredded chicken and let the curry simmer. Check taste and add salt as required. Finish with some fresh cream
Serve hot garnished with some extra fresh cream, a sprinkling of kasuri methi. Butter chicken tastes great with naan, rice, chapathis or pulkas.
The original recipe had a lot of chilli powder in it. I have reduced it to tone down the spice level. Please adjust according to taste. Do not add too much while marinating the chicken but increase it (if required), later while the gravy is cooking
Please use only Kashmiri chilli powder - fresh stock & good quality. This will make all the difference to the dish as the chillies impart a beautiful colour and you won't need to add any food colour