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, tinned or even passata. But with that said, I do believe that in the USA tomato puree is known as tomato paste perhaps a misunderstanding by whoever wrote it. Tomato paste in the UK is very different to tomato puree - confusing or what?!

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. I used a good quality tin of plum tomatoes. I prefer the brand Cirio; yes they are a bit expensive but when you open the can you will see what I'm talking about. They're available in Tesco, Sainsbury's or Waitrose.

With all that in mind, I set about looking up different recipes on the net and the end result is my very much 'titivated' version of Gordon Ramsay's Indian Butter Chicken. After making this again last night (22nd September 2018) my recipe has now been updated since I've discovered a couple of shortcuts; but fear not it tastes just the same 😋 and hopefully I've made it easier to follow.

Yield: 2-4

Indian Butter Chicken

This is so delicious it is easily eaten by us two quite greedy people but there is plenty enough sauce for 4 fat chicken fillets; just use one more chicken fillet.


3 or 4 nice fat chicken fillets cut into biggish bite sized pieces (3cm)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped
2 cm ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
a pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
3-4 heaped tablespoons (enough to coat the chicken) I use TOTAL Greek 5% Natural Yoghurt
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon 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 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons hot chilli powder - or to taste, remember you can add more towards the end
1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée (tomato paste if you're in the US)
400g can of tinned tomatoes - good quality ones or the juice will be like water, I use the brand Cirio
1 to 2 tablespoons of runny honey - or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 green birds eye chillies - left whole, but each one pierced a couple of times with a knife
40g unsalted butter
100ml double cream (heavy cream if you are in the US)
chopped coriander - to garnish


Put the yoghurt in a bowl with the garlic, ginger, salt, chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric and cumin. Mix well and then add the chicken making sure that each piece is well coated with the mixture. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour but 3 hours is better if you have time.

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 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 so if you fully cook it now it will be dry. 

Meanwhile you can make the sauce - just don't forget about the chicken in the oven!
Heat the ghee or butter in a large frying pan and add the garlic and ginger, fry for a minute then add the cardamom seeds, cloves, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, 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 each of them with a knife a couple of times 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 and stir in the honey. Using a wooden spoon break up the tomatoes because you  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. Don't let it boil - just simmer gently otherwise the chicken will end up tough.

Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for about 5 minutes. Use this time to remove the chillies and find the two cloves or someone will get a clove on their plate; so be finding them and throw them away!

Add the butter and stir. Now add the cream stirring continuously until it's all melted.

Put the pan back on the heat until it's all piping hot and serve straight away, garnished with chopped coriander.


I really recommend you use double (heavy if you're in the US) cream rather than single. Otherwise the sauce is far more likely to curdle and your dish will not look good at all. It's also important you don't add the cream to the the sauce while it's piping hot you must let it cool before adding.
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!


I love to hear from everyone so thanks for taking the time to comment.