Butter chicken isn’t the most ancient Indian export—it was invented in a restaurant in Delhi in the 1950s—but it is certainly one of the most delicious. According to legend, butter chicken was created by a chef at the Moti Mahal restaurant when he mixed leftover tandoori juice with tomato and butter, tossed it with tandoori cooked chicken, and was met with wild enthusiasm.
Today, butter chicken is one of the most popular Indian dishes in the world.
Its mild spice makes it a hit with kids, and its creamy, luxurious sauce wins over everybody else. Traditionally, butter chicken is served over steamed basmati rice with naan bread.
So where are the best places in the world to go for butter chicken? To get the most authentic meal, head to New Dehli. Singapore is also unexpectedly well known for its Indian cuisine. And of course, we can’t forget the famous Brick Lane in London, where Indian restaurants line the street, each boasting a more delicious deal than the last.
But if you are stuck at home, there’s an easy way to bring a creamy, fragrant dish of butter chicken right to you: try our Gourmet du Monde recipe! We promise you won’t be disappointed.
For the Sauce
- 1 TBL peanut oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 t fresh ginger
- 2 t minced garlic
- 4 TBL ghee (clarified Indian butter)
- 2 TBL lemon juice
- 1 TBL garam masala
- 1 t chili powder
- 1 t ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup pureed tomato
- 1 pinch salt, pepper, and cayenne
- 1 TBL ground cashews
- 1/4 cup water
For the chicken
- 1 TBL peanut oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
- 1 t garam masala
- Marinate chicken pieces in yogurt and lemon, anywhere from 2-3 hours to overnight.
- Heat 1 T oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sautee shallots, onion, ginger, and garlic until onions are translucent.
- Stir in ghee, lemon juice, spices, and bay leaf. Cook for one minute, stirring continuously.
- Add tomato sauce, yogurt, and cream. Cook on high for about two minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes. Add salt and pepper, remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat 1 T oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned; usually about 10 minutes.
- Season chicken with 1 T garam masala and 1/2 T cayenne. Add a generous spoonful of sauce to the chicken; simmer until the liquid has reduced and chicken is cooked all the way through. Add the rest of the sauce to the chicken.
- Mix ground cashews and water, and stir into sauce. Cook 10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.