I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Chicken

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Chicken

Because it is Butter Chicken! (or Chicken Makhani)
Perhaps the first time I had Indian food was when one of my high school dorm-mate's parents made butter chicken for our hall. It was one of the best things I had ever tasted. While I occasionally make some kind of curry, I just use sauce from a jar. This is my first attempt at making Indian food from scratch and attempting to recreate that delicious butter chicken.

Spicy(ish) Butter Chicken!


  • Medium White Onion - 1/2 Onion - Chopped
  • Shallots - 2 - Finely Chopped
  • Roasted Cashews (unsalted) - Finely Ground - 1/2 Cup
  • Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast - 2 lbs - Cubed
  • Heavy Cream - 2 Cups
  • Plain Yogurt - 1/2 Cup
  • Butter (unsalted) - 4 Tbsps (Half a Stick)
  • Tomato Puree - 2 Cups
  • Garam Masala - 4 Tsps
  • Chili Powder - 2 Tsps
  • Cayenne Pepper - 4 Tsps
  • Black Pepper - Several Pinches
  • Salt - Several Pinches
  • Garlic - Minced - 1 Tbsp
  • Ginger Paste - 1 Tbsp
  • Ground Cumin - 2 tsps
  • Bayleaf - 2 Leaves
  • Lemon Juice - 4 Tsps
  • Water - 1/2 Cup
  • Oil - Vegetable, Peanut, any cooking variety - A Tad or Two
  • Rice - Some rice, IDK man why you got so many questions???


  • Large Sauce Pan
  • Large Frying Pan or Wok
  • Rice Cooker or Small Pot
  • Blender or Food Processor
  • Cutting Board
  • Knives, Spoons, Spatulas, Measuring Cups
  • Stove

BONUS: Plaid beer to match your plaid knife




  1. Add oil to pan and apply medium heat
  2. Add chopped onion and shallot
  3. Stir occasionally until translucent (~5 minutes)
  4. Add butter, lemon juice, minced garlic, ginger paste, 2 tsps garam masala, cumin, chili powder, cumin, and bay leaf


"Wow this smells great" - KUBiAc, 2018

  1. Heat on medium for a couple of minutes (butter melted) with stirring
  2. Add tomato puree and head on medium for a couple minutes with stirring
  3. Reduce heat to low, add heavy cream and yogurt
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes with frequent stirring (to avoid curdling), season with salt and pepper (~1-2 tsp each, to taste)
  5. Turn off heat



  1. Add oil to pan and apply medium heat
  2. Add chicken cubes and stir occasionally with tongs or spatula (use batches if pan is too small)
  3. Once cooked (~10 min) add 2 tsp garam masala and 4 tsp cayenne (less if you are a wimp) and stir
  4. Add several spoon-fulls of sauce and stir for a minute until reduced
  5. Add cooked chicken to sauce



  1. Add water and ground cashew too the mix


  1. Simmer on low for ~10 minutes


  1. Cook rice in rice cooker or pot

Bonus Sides!

Crispy Chick Peas and Seasoned Cauliflower were prepared according to the linked recipes. Note: cooking times were increased to get desired crispiness and tenderness, respectively. In addition, the remaining half onion from the butter chicken was added to the cauliflower.




  • This dish smelled amazing from the moment the spices were added to the simmered onions until its consumption.
  • The flavors are balanced with a nice warmth from the cayenne. This would be a great cold weather meal.
  • In all, this made my apartment smell great and was a delicious endeavor.

Future Work:

  • The chicken was a little tough and could have been cooked for a shorter period of time. It also should have been cooked in smaller batches to get more browning.Furthermore, I think the pieces of chicken I prepared were a little on the small side, and I think heartier chunks would be an improvement.
  • I thick a bright chutney as a side would make a great addition. I'd also like to make naan.
  • I think a little more garlic and masala could be used, as well as a little less cayenne for the faint of heart. The dish was not super spicy, but the cayenne bordered on overpowering the other flavors.


https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/45957/chicken-makhani-indian-butter-chicken/ (modified based on comments and whims of the chef...)