Sunday, May 12, 2019

Madhur Jaffrey's Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken. Quite easily the single most popular Indian dish of all. Imagine my surprise when I searched and scoured the internet looking for Madhur Jaffrey's Butter Chicken recipe and found only one, with directions that were about as vague as could be. Can someone please explain to me how in the world Madhur Jaffrey doesn't have an online recipe for Butter Chicken, the single most popular Indian dish? 

So, I messaged my fabulous friend, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen, hoping she had Madhur's recipe and what do you know...she did! So, big thanks to Deb for saving the day and sharing the recipe with me!

I didn't follow Madhur's recipe exactly, but that was because I didn't have precooked tandoor chicken and I don't suppose I ever will. Precooked tandoor chicken isn't a common commodity in central Kentucky and I don't imagine it is in other parts of the country.  So, I made do with chicken breast. Chicken thighs would also work well, probably even better.

In order to layer the flavors I decided to marinate my diced chicken in the blend of spices below (see note). I allowed it to marinate for 10-20 minutes while I gathered all my ingredients. I then seared the chicken in a wide skillet before removing it to a bowl. I added the sauce to the skillet and allowed it to cook for a while, letting the flavors meld, before adding the chicken back in to finish cooking. I think this method worked perfectly as the flavors were in fact layered and the chicken was ultimately tender. While this method may not be traditional, I feel as though it was the best option using the ingredients that I had on hand and I must say, the results were absolutely delicious. This is, beyond a doubt, a delicious and comforting bowl of food. This is a mild dish, one that is definitely very family-friendly, yet there are layers of warmth from the spices making it slightly complex and ultimately comforting. It's a hug in a bowl!

Butter Chicken
Adapted from Kahakai Kitchen
Madhur Jaffrey's 100 Weeknight Curries
by Madhur Jaffrey
Serves 4

For Sauce:
4 tablespoons tomato puree
3 cloves garlic, minced
2.5 cm (1-inch) cube fresh ginger, peeled and grated very finely
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 fresh hot green chili, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin

For Chicken:
4 ounces butter
1 quantity of tandoor chicken, precooked OR
1 pound diced chicken breast*
Optional: Rice or naan bread, on the side
Optional: Diced shallots, jalapeno, chopped cilantro, chives, etc.

*Note: (I did not follow Madhur Jaffrey's cooking instructions exactly): This recipe indicates that your chicken has already been cooked. My chicken breast had not. Instead of following the directions below, I tossed all the seasonings (salt, black pepper, cayenne, garam masala, and cumin with raw diced chicken and allowed it to marinate for 10 minutes. Then I added the butter to the wide saute pan and seared the chicken on all sides, locking in all the flavor of the spices. I then removed the chicken to a bowl and heated the sauce in the same pan, placing the chicken back in to finish cooking. 

*Madhur Jaffrey's cooking instructions: First prepare the sauce. Put the tomato puree in a large clear measuring jug.  Slowly add water, mixing as you go to make up 1 cup tomato sauce.  Add the remaining sauce ingredients and mix well.

Heat the butter in a wide saute pan or a large frying pan. When the butter has melted, add the spiced sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium heat for a minute, mixing in the butter as you do. Add the chicken pieces. Stir once and put the chicken on a warm serving platter, spooning extra sauce over the top.  


  1. This is the recipe following the Tandoori chicken in "Indian Cooking" but decided to go with the tandoori chicken first since I have never made it before. I can imagine how delicious and appealing the butter chicken are with the warmth and hugs.

  2. I want to make this with paneer instead of chicken! THat sauce looks so good.

  3. I have a confession - I've never had butter chicken! It's on the buffets at the Indian restaurants we frequent but I never tried it, Definitely saving this recipe so I can make it at home.

  4. Hi There,

    I am an Indian Christian Guy of Portuguese Descent.

    I live in Mumbai, India.

    I have 2 Cooking Blogs.

    I am constantly trying out Rare Mughlai Chicken Curries at home in my kitchen.

    I find this version of Butter Chicken by Madhur Jaffrey very interesting.

    Lately, I have started cooking with Cottage Cheese -- it is called Paneer in India.

    Have U ever cooked or heard of Zafrani Chicken Curry. It is a Decadent Persian and Afghan Chicken Gravy. I cook it now and then.

    Let Me know if you would like me to post links to my two cooking blogs at your awesome and amazing Recipe Based Blog.

    Have a Great Day and a Great Week.


  5. Kim, this recipe is EXCELLENT!!! I am half Indian (my Dad was Indian, my Mom is German) and I've lived in Florida for the past 33 years, however was born and raised outside of London where growing up I was blessed with a LOT of Indian food, especially when visiting my Dad's family. I had a Madhur jaffrey book and have made tandoori chicken myself once or twice but couldn't find it yesterday as I thought about making Chicken Tikka Masala. It was then when I started searching online for recipes and came across your Butter Chicken recipe. I liked the fact that you layered the spices and weren't using pre-cooked tandoori chicken (who has time for that on a Thursday night??) but it sounded really delicious and very authentic. I tried it tonight and absolutely LOVED it! Even without using tandoor cooked chicken, the flavors are fantastic and rival anything tasted at your local Indian restaurant. Great job and thank you so much for sharing!!

  6. Best Butter chicken Recipe - Best Butter chicken Recipe is the most popular Indian gravy. This is a fool proof way which nails the flavours and taste closest to a restaurant butter chicken.

  7. I've been using Madhur Jaffrey's original cookery book for over 30 years and there are some fantastic recipes in it though this is probably the best. I don't know if it's still in print but if you get the chance buy it!

  8. I have used this recipe for my leftover Tandoori Chicken for at least 20 years. My family favourite.

  9. Fantastic flavoursome butter chicken. Not for those with High cholesterol 😂


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