Today’s recipe is all about India’s second most popular dish which is loved all over the globe – the mighty Chicken Butter Masala! Along with Chicken Tikka Masala, this recipe is found on restaurant menus all Over India though it is widely regarded as a part of North Indian Cuisine.
There are quite a few stories about the origin of this dish and being an Indian, I choose to believe the more desi version of the origin of this dish though there are many who are screaming themselves hoarse that this wonderful recipe was invented somewhere in the UK. I choose to believe the version which says that there was a restaurant in Delhi whose chef was wondering what to do with the chicken parts which were not served with Tandoori Chicken, at the time, such as the chicken necks and wings. So he whipped up a tomato based gravy and dropped in the leftover chicken tidbits and called the dish Chicken Makhni. And hence Butter Chicken Masala or Chicken Butter Masala or Chicken Makhni was born!
But who cares about arguing over the origin of this dish? It’s a great chicken curry and an Indian dish and is loved all over the globe. My blog is all about great cooking and happy eating! So let those who want to take to streets and protest over the origins of this iconic Indian recipe do what they have to do. Let them spend hour after hour intellectualizing food while we learn the authentic recipe which is followed in restaurants all over the world. The history of food is amazing. The ruckus made over each dish’s origin is utterly idiotic. Haven’t people got anything better to do?
We I have! Correction! We do! Let me teach you how to make Butter Chicken Masala.
- Chicken - 500 Grams, Boneless and Cut into Bite Sized Pieces
- Tomatoes - 3 Large Ripe and Plump Chopped Small
- Ginger - ½ ' Piece Chopped Fine
- Garlic - 7 to 8 Cloves Chopped Fine
- Mace - 1 Blade
- Green Cardamom - 4 to 5
- Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1 Heaped Teaspoon
- Garam Masala Powder - ¼th Teaspoon
- Kasuri Methi - ½ Teaspoon Crushed
- Salt - To Taste
- Sugar - ½ Teaspoon
- Butter - 4 Tablespoons
- Cream - ½ Cup
- Water - ½ Cup (Optional)
- Marinate the Chicken pieces in a pinch of Garam Masala Powder, Kashmiri Chilli Powder and Salt for 20 minutes.
- Add ½ Tablespoon of Butter to a non-stick kadhai on medium high heat.
- Add the Chicken Pieces and sauté till they are ¾th cooked and slightly golden brown at the edges. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In the same kadhai add 1 and ½ tablespoons of Butter. Add the whole spices and sauté until fragrant. Turn heat down to low.
- Add the Chopped Tomatoes and sauté on low heat.
- Add the Chopped Ginger and Garlic and stir well.
- Add Chilli Powder and stir.
- Cook Tomatoes until they are soft and mushy. This is the gravy base for the Butter Chicken Masala.
- Remove kadhai from heat and cool the gravy base down to room temperature.
- Pour the entire gravy base into a blender and blend until smooth and there are no lumps whatsoever.
- Pass through a strainer and push with the back of a spoon through the strainer.
- You'll find bits of tomato skin, seeds and cardamom husk in the strainer.
- Removing this from the strainer will make the gravy silky smooth and silky. In restaurants, the gravy is strained twice for an even silkier and smoother gravy.
- Add the remaining butter to the same kadhai and pour in the gravy. Add salt now and stir.
- Keep the heat on low and let the gravy simmer for 15 minutes or till the raw and tangy taste of the tomatoes has disappeared. Further cooking the tomatoes will reduce the tartness which is found in tomatoes. Stir every three to four minutes.
- Cover the cooking gravy as it will splatter a lot. Add water now if needed to aid in the cooking process.
- After 15 minutes remove the cover and check the gravy for sourness. If too sour for your preference add the sugar now.
- Drop in the Chicken Pieces and stir into the gravy.
- Cover the kadhai and cook for 10 minutes more.
- After 10 minutes are up, check for tenderness with a fork. If satisfied with the tenderness, proceed with the next step or else continue to cook for 10 minutes more.
- Pour in ½ the amount of the cream and stir in very slowly.
- Add the Garam Masala Powder and stir in.
- Next, drop in the crushed Kasuri Methi and stir in. Check for seasoning and turn the heat off.
- Serve piping hot and garnish with the remaining cream.
There you have it! Chicken Butter Masala just like how it is made in the best of restaurants. I personally prefer the Chicken Butter Masala recipe which is made with Tandoori Chicken. Here is my recipe for Tandoori Chicken which is made at home in my oven. And yes! Whatever you do, do not follow recipes which say to add food color to Chicken Butter Masala. Most food colors are prepared from synthetic sources and are bad for you. Tomatoes and Kashmiri Chilli Powder has enough natural color which is more than sufficient for this recipe!
Remember, Butter Chicken Masala is a lightly flavored dish and does not need to be doused with an endless list of spices. Mace and Cardamom are the main spices used in flavoring Chicken Makhni. This is what the best chefs do in the best restaurants in the world. If you ever come across a recipe which says to add a whole bunch of spices to Butter Chicken Masala stop looking at that recipe right away as mace and green cardamom are the only spices used in this recipe.
So you must be wondering why I have a big bunch of Fenugreek Leaves in the picture of this recipe. After all dried Fenugreek leaves are used in this recipe and not the fresh variety. I don’t know myself. It just looks real nice and adds nice color to the picture!
I really do hope you make this recipe! It’s one of my eternal favorites and I fell in love with it the very first time I tasted it!