Do you know that butter chicken is one of the two most searched Indian food globally last year? Butter chicken or murgh makhani is a curry stew of chicken pieces cooked in a butter, tomato, and spiced cream sauce. It originated in the Indian subcontinent as a curry. Even since I first had it more than a decade ago in my favourite Indian restaurant in Singapore, this has been my all time favourite comfort food, when I feel cold, when I feel down or simply when I feel like it. I can never get sicked of eating this flavourful dish, especially with some warm soft naans.
What is butter chicken sauce made of?
The ingredients used are quite heavy on the spices, which includes garam masala, curry powder, paprika, black pepper. The sauce is made of mainly tomato paste or puree, intensified by aromatics and spices, and its rich texture comes from adding milk or cream.
I love using boneless and skinless chicken thighs for its texture. Fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric are grated for their aromatics. You got to be really careful with the fresh turmeric, it leaves a stubborn stain on light coloured table top, cabinet laminate, chopping board and fabric :((. The authentic recipe does not have vegetables, except for the onion, herbs and tomato paste or puree used in the dish.
Can you use yogurt instead of cream in Curry?
The traditional recipe calls for cream or yoghurt. I find yoghurt a tad sourish for curries. I’ve also used cooking cream and substituted with coconut cream and I prefer coconut cream simply because it makes the curry taste better and smoother.
What does butter chicken taste like?
The name butter chicken seems to imply there should be a very strong butter component to the dish but no, butter is used to saute the onion and chicken, but the dish has a mildly sweet flavour and very creamy texture, it’s packed full of flavours from the use of aromatics and spices.
Creamy Butter Chicken Recipe
- Grate ginger, garlic, turmeric. Take note turmeric will stain.
- Cut chicken into smaller chunks. Dice onion.
- Sear chicken over medium heat. When it's almost 60-70% cooked, remove chicken and set aside.
- Add grated ginger, garlic, turmeric and cook for a while, take care not to let it get burnt.
- Add chicken and spices and mix well, take care not to let the spices get burnt.
- Add tomato paste and mix well. If it's too dry, you can add a few tablespoon of water.
- Add coconut milk and let it simmer over low heat.
- Season with salt.
- Serve warm with rice or naan.