Butter chicken gives me all the feels. As a lover of all things spice, South-Asian cuisine is a favorite of mine. Butter chicken also holds an extra special place in my heart as it is literally one of the first recipes I learned how to make.
I moved out into my first apartment in University with one of my best friends from Pakistan. We move in, we’re excited and we’re feelin’ like such grown-ups. Except did either one of us know how to cook?? Mmm, yea no. For the next few months in between studying at the most ungodly hours we would sit there in the world’s tiniest kitchen while her mom coached us through different recipes via skype. No joke y’all ,that’s how I learned how to cook. This very simple butter chicken recipe was first up on the list. To this day, every time I make it I’m right back there in that tiny kitchen cooking next to my best friend and I can hear her mom in the background going “ok girls, now add the garam masala…”
This very simple recipe honestly is super easy to make, yet it totally delivers on the out-of-this-world flavor. I’ve added chili powder out of preference but butter chicken really is a creamy, mild dish so feel free to reduce the amount of chili to your liking. The important thing to remember is time. Allowing the ingredients to simmer is crucial to getting the flavor right and it is soooo worth it.
I’m in love with the vibrant color that butter chicken adds to the table. Take a bite and the flavor definitely matches the color. If you have the time, I’ve also made the sauce (masala) and then grilled the chicken separately which adds an extra kick. Just marinate the chicken in some yogurt with cumin, lemon juice and chili powder then grill it until half way cooked. Add to the masala and simmer on low until cooked through.
This recipe is literally a piece of my heart and I cannot wait for you to try it. Butter chicken is the best, am I right? Hollerrrrrr…
Ps – the spices I’ve included below are some essentials for South Asian cooking. So if you’re thinking, ‘do I really need to go out and buy something I’ll barely use a teaspoon of just one time?’ don’t worry, they are all very useful in most dishes.
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Yield: 8 servings Total time: 45 minutes
- 1/2 tsp clove powder
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- 1-2 tbsp chilli powder (adjust to your liking)
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp dry methi leaves
- 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 5 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup table cream
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- handful of fresh chopped coriander or cilantro
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
- In a large pot, sauté the ginger and garlic in oil on low for about 2 minutes (keep stirring so it doesn’t burn). Add onions and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add cumin, clove powder and half of the coriander until fragrant.
- Add the chicken and cook halfway until white on the outside but still pink on the inside. Add 1 tbsp of chilli powder and stir until coated. Allow to cook for about 1 minute.
- Add crushed tomatoes, stir and increase the heat to medium. Let the tomatoes cook, covered until the oil comes up on the sides of the pot (about 5 minutes). Add salt and an additional 1tbsp of chilli powder if necessary, and stir.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cream (pour 1/2 cup and increase depending on how creamy you want it) and mix until fully incorporated.
- Sprinkle the garam masala and methi on top of the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow to cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove cover and stir. Allow the sauce to cook for another 2 minutes and add remaining coriander just before serving.