Indian Butter Chicken - Murgh Makhani Recipe

I've been watching Gordon Ramsay's 'Great Escape' on TV - a fantastic programme! However, when the book was published I'm thinking something is wrong with the butter chicken recipe. In the programme talking about the butter chicken he had there, Gordon said "It doesn't taste tart - like it's been laced with tomato uses fresh tomatoes"

Now, this is all very strange because the book says to use 275ml of tomato puree and there's not a mention of a tomato fresh or tinned! That said, I must point out that in the USA tomato puree is known as tomato paste perhaps a misunderstanding by whoever wrote the book.

Indian Butter Chicken

So, there I was, everything ready to go until I noticed the amount of tomato puree. Not only would the dish have been very bitter, there would have been no sauce at all.

With all that in mind, I set about looking up different recipes on the net and the result is my 'titivated' version of Indian butter chicken.

Yield: 2-3

Indian Butter Chicken


500g boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3-4 cm pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2cm ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoons hot chilli powder
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
75ml natural yoghurt
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
a little vegetable oil for brushing

For the sauce:
1½ tablespoons ghee or melted unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves - peeled and finely chopped
2 cm ginger - peeled and finely chopped
1 cardamom pod - seeds only and lightly crushed
2 cloves
1 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons hot chilli powder - or to taste
1 tablespoon tomato purée
400g can of tinned tomatoes - be sure to use good quality ones or the juice will be like water
1 to 2 tablespoons of runny honey - or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 green birds eye chillies - left whole, but pierced a couple of times with a knife
40g unsalted butter
100ml double cream
chopped coriander - to garnish


Put the chicken in a bowl with the garlic, ginger, salt, chilli powder and lemon juice.

Mix, cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Now mix together the yoghurt, garam masala, turmeric and cumin and add to the chicken, making sure that each piece is well coated with the mixture. Cover again and chill for 3-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F or Gas 5

Put the marinated chicken pieces on a grill rack set on a baking tray lined with foil so there's less mess. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes without turning. If you turn it you will lose half the marinade.

**Please note the chicken will not be fully cooked at this point - it will finish cooking in the sauce in a bit.

To make the sauce:
Heat the ghee or butter in a large saucepan and add the garlic and ginger.

Fry for a minute or so, then add the cardamom, cloves, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and chilli powder.

Stir well and fry for 1-2 minutes, until they give off a lovely aroma.

Add the whole green chillies. **Be sure to have pierced them with a knife a couple of time so they can release a nice bit of heat into the dish.

Stir in the tomato purée and lemon juice and cook for another couple of minutes.

Now add the can of tomatoes along with the juice from the can and stir in the honey.

Using a wooden spoon break the tomatoes up as you really want the sauce to be quite smooth.

Have a taste to see if you want more honey or chilli or whatever. Add the chicken to the sauce and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced to a nice thickness.

Remove the two chillies and the two cloves if you can spy them and discard.

Add the butter and the cream at the same time and stir continuously until it's all melted.

Taste again and adjust the seasoning. Serve straight away, garnished with chopped coriander.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Indian Butter Chicken

To serve 4 just add more chicken the sauce will still be enough - we're just very greedy people!


  1. Butter chicken is just one of those dishes that transcends all nationalities.

  2. U cook Indian food so well. I heard that butter chicken was invented by an Indian in England instead, is it true?

  3. To me, that looks totally decadent and delicious......I am not a Ramsay fan(don't tell him,don't want to upset that man do we!)

  4. Your version looks great, Gordon: eat your heart out!

  5. It looks of my fave Indian dishes, coming over now!

  6. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. It looks so delicious... It's always interesting to see Indian dish.

  8. The butter chicken looks delicious and the recipe is really good too.
    We love butter chicken it is one of our favourites.

  9. I'm desperate for a curry now Jan, looks fabulous! I can never get enough spicy food, lol!

  10. That's a pretty impressive looking curry Jan. I can't stand Gordon Ramsay and I don't care if he knows it either! xxoo

  11. I thought exactly the same when I read Gordon's recipe in my book. 275ml tomato puree should never be used!!

    I never follow recipes 100% anyway and I am going to use fresh tomatoes and purree and blend the sauce. Will let you know how it goes!

  12. This is a great recipe and I did it for special anniversary meal for my family. I was concerned about the quantity of tomato puree too so I did 2 thirds pulled tomato to 1 third puree and it gave a lovely rich sauce that went down a storm.

  13. Thanks for the comment Bryan - glad you liked it too. I haven't made this in a while so now you've got me wanting it again!


Thanks for taking the time to comment - much appreciated.

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