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Quick Butter Chicken- Murgh Makhani

 

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I had butter chicken for the first time only a few months ago at a local Indian restaurant. It was wonderful and I have wanted to make it ever since I tried it. I am sometimes hesitant to make Indian dishes because spicing and I do not see eye to eye, balanced spices is a challenge for me, I follow and have had help from great Indian cooks like Sonal, Aruna, Chitra, Sandhya to name a few.  The other day I received an email from Food and Wine Magazine and it contained a recipe from  Andrew Zimmern’s for Butter Chicken, now Mr. Zimmern is a great chef, daring eater and fun to watch on TV. I trust his palate and thought I would give his recipe a try, it looks so easy all you use is vindaloo prepared spice, no tempering, toasting, grinding etc…. I did not have vindaloo spice mix so I ordered from Penzy’s and can’t wait to try it.

The recipe is very easy to make and I love how quickly it all comes together. Whenever I make a new recipe I try to follow the instructions, I didn’t want to add a stick of butter, not that I don’t like butter (love it) it just seemed like a lot, I threw caution to the wind and used a full stick, the other ingredient I had a hard time with is the spice the vindaloo mix, the recipe calls for 1/4 cup +2tbs, I have a very very light hand when it comes to spices and really wanted to only add 2 tbs but followed instructions and added the full amount.  I did not use chicken thighs, instead I used boneless skinless breast tenders, it’s what I had. Now the butter chicken I had at the Indian Restaurant was almost orange in color. Mine looks like the one in the photo at Food and Wine I guess the color doesn’t matter but I would like to know why some recipes that I have seen are almost a bright orange, is it maybe an addition of some chili powder?

It was tasty, a bit too spicy for me, but I am a real wimp when it comes to heat. I would probably make it again putting my own spin on it. I don’t like adding meat without sauteeing first, so I would do that, I would use less spice because it was a bit too spicy for me, would use less butter, half a stick rather than a whole stick, I would possibly thicken with cashew cream rather than heavy cream or even coconut milk. Well, I guess it’s not the same recipe then. It was very easy, took less than an hour to make and that I love.

What I learned making this recipe:

  1. There is a reason they say to use thighs I think they are sturdier, the breast tenders fell apart in the marinade when left overnight, I had to sieve so it is smooth.
  2. I think it would be worth it to mix your own or have someone custom mix the vindaloo spice mix to tailor to your taste, less of the super spicy stuff.  I like this it’s good but I think there are some things I would change to suit my taste. I thought I might have tasted cloves and I was right, I checked the list of spices and cloves were there albeit a small amount it was the last one mentioned.
  3. Although this is tasty I prefer to layer flavors, searing or sauteeing the meat adds a lot of flavor IMHO.

Butter Chicken

Andrew Zimmern for Food And Wine

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vindaloo spice (see Note)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Basmati rice, cilantro sprigs and chopped salted roasted cashews, for serving
  1. In a large bowl, mix the yogurt with the vindaloo spice and lemon juice. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and its marinade along with the crushed tomatoes and stock to the casserole and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer until the sauce is flavorful and the chicken is cooked through, 
10 to 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve with basmati rice, cilantro sprigs and chopped cashews.
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77 Comments Post a comment
  1. Butter Chicken is one of my absolute Indian favourites. Another is Aloo Gobi which is a potato and cauliflower curry. Strangely enough. the only way I’ll eat cauliflower is when it’s in Indian food. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe, I’ll have to give it a try. 🙂

    June 7, 2016
    • I’ve never had Aloo Gobi but if it has cauliflower in it I know I would like it. Love it, thank you so much. This was good, easy to make, quick, makes a really nice meal.

      June 7, 2016
  2. This picture looks so divine, and I really appreciate your thoughtful suggestions! See you soon! 🙂

    June 7, 2016
    • Thanks Em, I made it yesterday and it actually tasted better today, Still a bit spicy for me though. See you soon.

      June 7, 2016
  3. Looks delicious and i love spicy food ☺

    June 7, 2016
    • Thank you so much, it is delicious I wish I could get used to the heat, I am getting better with it though,

      June 7, 2016
  4. Yum! Suzanne this looks beautiful. The Indian restaurant nearby has a lovely butter chicken dish. Unfortunately my tummy has issues with their spices — even when they don’t seem “hot” to me… Maybe I’ll try your version… so delicious. Mega hugs.

    June 7, 2016
    • I loved the butter chicken I got at the Indian restaurant near my house, it’s really delicious, I also have issues with spices, the hot ones. Thank you so much Teagan, mega hugs back!!

      June 7, 2016
  5. I am just like you in that I follow a recipe when I make it the first, especially when it comes from a well known chef. I know very little about Indian food so thank you for all the wonderful suggestions you made. Have a great week.

    June 7, 2016
    • Thank you so much Gerlinde, I know little about Indian food as well, I do know I love eating it.

      June 7, 2016
  6. Oh yea love this recipe Suzanne! Oh Yum-o. Cheryl xx

    June 7, 2016
  7. Yummy! I’ve eaten butter chicken at Indian restaurants and even gotten the sauce in a jar to make at home, but I haven’t mastered making it from scratch!

    June 7, 2016
    • This recipe was easy and tasted great I also love butter chicken. Next time I change it a little bit the basic recipe is really good. Thank you so much Heather!

      June 7, 2016
  8. You’re right to go with your hunch as most Indian recipes are way too heavily spiced for me (even though I love spices). Less is simply more. Or at least that’s what I’m finding. A tsp rather than tbsp is normally the same in spiciness/taste if using coriander and cumin. Adding more doesn’t necessarily add more flavour. 🙂

    June 7, 2016
    • I could have used just 2 tbs and it would have been fine and it would not have burned going down. It tasted fine but I am all about less is more and the same goes for the butter as well. How are you Johnny so glad to see you hope you re doing well!!!

      June 7, 2016
      • Waiting for summer! I’ve only very recently stopped wearing winter clothes.
        Likewise, hope you’re well.:)

        June 7, 2016
      • Doing fine thanks can’t wait to see a blog post!!

        June 7, 2016
  9. Oh yum! This is our family’s favourite pick when out at the local Indian restaurant Suzanne… such beautiful, mild and moreish flavours… and just magical with a chunk of garlic naan bread to mop up the sauce with! I set up a draft over a year ago to work on finding the right recipe to cook Butter Chicken at home, but alas it’s still just sitting there… I think it must be quite hard to replicate the flavour that the restaurants get, without having a tandoor oven to cook the chicken in first. I’ve also seen quite a few recipes that use tomato paste in the sauce, which would give you a boost in colour. A dash of turmeric seems to pop up in a few recipes too, but not sure if traditional or not… M.xx

    June 8, 2016
    • Hi Margot, yes no tandoor oven so that is sadly missing from this that is impossible to replicate without the actual oven. I love butter chicken and although this was tasty it wasn’t the same but it’s definitely good. Missed the the way it tastes from the restaurant. i actually thought of adding tomato paste and did sneak a little in but it really didn’t make any difference at all and didn’t want to use a lot of it, next time I will try it. It’s hard to tell from the photo’s it was a rainy day and the photo’s are not great but it was pretty yellow, the spice mix was a muddy yellow in color. Turmeric would have made it more yellow which would have been more attractive for sure. I love adding turmeric whether or not itis traditional and I didn’t think of that. Thanks so much hope all is well.

      June 9, 2016
  10. I’ve seen butter chicken mentioned so often but I’ve never had it. I think I would be like you and might want to cut down on the butter and spice.

    June 8, 2016
    • Thanks Karen, yes I don’t think cutting down on the butter or spice would make an appreciable difference in flavor at all.

      June 9, 2016
  11. I absolutely love butter chicken. Looking forward to trying out your recipe 🙂

    June 8, 2016
    • Thanks Lynne, let me know how it turns out for you, would be very interested.

      June 9, 2016
  12. As someone who used over two sticks of butter making supper last night, this looks right up my alley (and it looks like Indian food Paul might eat. So long as I don’t tell him that it’s Indian food).

    June 8, 2016
    • Ha, Sarah I love butter and have been known to indulge with a stick or two myself. LOL, thanks so much love Indian food and this had the flavor for sure.

      June 9, 2016
  13. This looks amazingly delicious. I’ve seen recipes for it but never have made it. Pinning!

    June 8, 2016
    • Thanks Julie, I loved how easy this was, with a few minor alterations I think this could be great,

      June 9, 2016
  14. This looks good. I have never cooked an Indian meal at home, although I love eating at a good Indian that’s not far from where I live. I agree with you that sautéing adds depth of flavour to any dish. 😉

    June 8, 2016
    • I tend to shy away because I am spicing challenged. I threw caution to the wind here and added the spice that was called for, for a seasoned spice eater I am sure this would be nothing and they would hardly notice the heat but I am not and I did, it was too spicy for me. It is good though, very tasty and next time sauté for sure.

      June 9, 2016
  15. I love butter chicken, this sounds wonderful. The picture is mouth watering Suzanne!

    June 8, 2016
    • Thanks so much Lynn, me too. When I eat at an Indian restaurant I am quite boring I get the same thing either butter chicken or chicken korma and saag paneer. I would love to learn how to make samosa’s.

      June 9, 2016
      • I love samosa!

        June 9, 2016
      • Me too, I have to look up recipes, wondering if you can use a regular flaky pastry crust recipe.

        June 9, 2016
  16. First Kudos to you for trying the recipe 🙂 Indian food, often times is spicy! I loved how you planned on making a few changes next time – that’s how recipes evolve isnt it?! 🙂

    June 9, 2016
    • Thats right CH, thanks so much I always try to follow a recipe the first time I make it, the second time is when I start to make my changes. Thanks so much.

      June 9, 2016
  17. Susan #

    It really looks yummy! The only way to hit on the right recipe is to try things your own way just as you did! Somebody once said, a recipe is just a suggestion 😊

    June 9, 2016
    • I love that saying Susan, I would love to get it on some sort of placard and put it in my kitchen. Thank you so much.

      June 9, 2016
      • Susan #

        The source is my friend Phoebe who has a blog called phoebespurefood! You could type up a little meme or something and frame it😉

        June 9, 2016
      • Thank you so much.

        June 9, 2016
  18. I have never eaten butter chicken before but this both sound and looks delicious!

    June 9, 2016
    • I had it for the first time only a few months ago, it’s so good. Tastes a bit different when you get it in the Indian restaurant but this version is good as well. Thanks so much.

      June 9, 2016
  19. I love butter chicken and that plate looks delicious. I’m so tempted to try out your recipe this weekend. Thanks Suzanne!

    June 10, 2016
    • It’s a weakness ever since I first tried it, just so delicious and although this recipe is a bit different it still satifies my need for butter chicken. Thanks so much Mary Frances.

      June 10, 2016
  20. Hi Suzanne, this chicken dish looks amazing, I just started enjoying Indian food about 2 years ago and absolutely love it.

    June 11, 2016
  21. I’ve never had butter chicken but your recipe looks delicious. Thanks for the additional tips as well.

    June 12, 2016
  22. I love butter chicken, Suzanne, and yours looks so good. That sauce!! YUM.

    June 13, 2016
    • Thanks Patty I am a newbie with butter chicken but after tasting, it replaced my usual chicken korma.

      June 13, 2016
  23. Kudos to you!! Looks fantastic, Suzanne! The butter chicken served in the restaurants usually has orange food color added.. I use tomato paste instead of tomato puree, and that gives a natural beautiful orange color once the cream is mixed in 🙂

    June 14, 2016
  24. I just discovered that I love butter chicken this year, too! This sounds like a delicious version of it. I love spicy foods and butter so it would be right up my alley! 🙂

    June 15, 2016
    • It’s like a revelation, love butter chicken and now whenever I order from the Indian restaurant it’s what I get. This version is quick and easy and it does taste really nice. Thanks so much.

      June 15, 2016
  25. My mouth is watering reading your recipe. I love Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani, and a quick recipe for it is super welcome! I’m so excited that I can make it at home now. 😀

    June 16, 2016
    • Thanks Fae, butter chicken is just so wonderful. my new favorite Indian food. Thank you so much.

      June 16, 2016
  26. I Love any thing with makhani sauce. Thanks for sharing this.

    June 17, 2016
    • Thank you so much Sumith, I do too, the first Indian dish I ever made had a Makhani sauce, it was love at first taste.

      June 18, 2016
      • Hi Suzanne, If you are good in Makhani you should be very good in Indian cuisine. Tuning Indian food is like tuning a guitar!!!

        June 18, 2016
      • Well, I hope my Makhani is better than my guitar tuning. LOL, thank you so much and it is a learning process for me. Getting to know how to properly balance the spices is what I found to be most difficult.

        June 18, 2016
  27. This looks like pure comfort food to me! I’ve fallen behind on my blog visits since Gibson, but I’m so glad I’ve seen this recipe!

    Mollie

    June 17, 2016
    • I know all too well what you are going through and again let me say how broken hearted I am that you lost your sweet Gibson. Thank you so much.

      June 18, 2016
      • Thanks much! I’m just trying to keep busy but I am having a hard time concentrating on any one thing.

        June 19, 2016
  28. Never heard of butter chicken Suzanne– but we do love Indian food. It’s mostly an eat out favorite– I’ve just made a couple curries at home. SO all that to say– this looks like something I need to try! I really liked your “things I learned section!” Isn’t that true most times you make something new?? I’m kind of spice wimp too. So I would probably tone it down. I just wish I could make naan as well as they do at Indian restaurants!! The kins I buy pre-made at the market is always disappointing. Anyway, thanks for this recipe. You come up with such a fun variety!! (even dog birthday cakes!!) hugs from here…

    June 17, 2016
    • Thanks Rhonda I had not tasted it until recently, it’s seriously good!!! I am a major spice winp😃

      June 17, 2016
      • I’m going to give it a try! let you know…

        June 18, 2016
      • Let me know, warning I found the Penzy’s vindaloo mix delicious but spicy hot for me. If you use less than half of what is called for it should be fine. Next time that’s what I will do. Thanks Rhonda and let me know.

        June 18, 2016
  29. Butter chicken is one of our absolute favorites … This version sounds really awesome!

    June 22, 2016
    • Thank you so much, I also love it. I wanted the other day and decided to order it again from my local Indian restaurant that was where I first tasted it. It was not nearly as flavorful as this homemade version, I was a little shocked, it was good but not as good. It gave me a new found respect for the recipe.

      June 22, 2016
  30. This looks very tasty. Can´t wait to try it!

    March 1, 2017
    • Thank you so much, it’s one of my favorites, but it’s so hard to choose because I LOVE the food of India.

      March 1, 2017
      • Hard to choose from an array different foods, I know what you mean!

        March 1, 2017

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