Savory Indulgence: Unraveling the Secrets of Authentic Butter Chicken Recipe


 Butter chicken, also known as “Murgh Makhani,” is a quintessential dish of North Indian cuisine that has garnered a global following for its rich, creamy sauce and tender chicken pieces. Originating from the kitchens of Delhi, this iconic dish is a testament to the culinary artistry of Indian chefs, combining traditional flavors with a touch of innovation. In this article, we embark on a culinary journey to uncover the secrets of crafting an authentic butter chicken recipe that captures the essence of its origins and delights the palate.

Origins and Cultural Significance: 

The roots of authentic Butter Chicken recipe can be traced back to the 1950s in Delhi, where it was created by Kundan Lal Gujral, the founder of the famous Moti Mahal restaurant. Legend has it that the dish was born out of a desire to repurpose leftover tandoori chicken by simmering it in a rich, tomato-based sauce. The addition of butter and cream elevated the dish to new heights of indulgence, earning it a place of honor on restaurant menus across India and beyond.

Beyond its culinary appeal, butter chicken holds cultural significance as a beloved comfort food and a symbol of Indian hospitality. Whether enjoyed at festive gatherings, family dinners, or special occasions, this iconic dish brings people together and fosters a sense of connection and camaraderie.

Key Ingredients and Flavor Profile: 

Central to the allure of authentic butter chicken is its harmonious blend of spices, aromatics, and dairy products, which infuse the dish with layers of flavor and texture. While variations abound, the essential ingredients typically include:


Traditionally, butter chicken is made with boneless chicken pieces, preferably thigh or breast meat, which are marinated and grilled in a tandoor oven for added depth of flavor.


The base of the sauce is made from ripe tomatoes, which are pureed to create a smooth and luscious texture. Tomatoes lend a tangy sweetness to the dish, balancing the richness of the butter and cream.

Butter and Cream: 

True to its name, butter chicken is enriched with generous amounts of butter and cream, which impart a velvety smoothness and richness to the sauce. Clarified butter, or ghee, is often used for its nutty flavor and ability to withstand high temperatures.

Aromatics and Spices: 

A medley of aromatics such as onions, garlic, and ginger form the foundation of the sauce, while a blend of spices including garam masala, cumin, coriander, and chili powder add warmth and depth of flavor.

Fenugreek Leaves: 

A key ingredient in butter chicken is dried fenugreek leaves, also known as kasuri methi, which impart a subtle bitterness and aroma to the dish. These leaves are often crushed and sprinkled over the finished dish for added flavor.


 Authentic Butter Chicken Now, let’s delve into the step-by-step process of preparing authentic butter chicken in your own kitchen. While the recipe may seem elaborate, the results are well worth the effort, promising a symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


500g boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter or ghee

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece of ginger, grated

4 ripe tomatoes, pureed

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust according to spice preference)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crushed

Salt to taste

Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)


1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt to taste


In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade: yogurt, ginger garlic paste, garam masala, chili powder, lemon juice, and salt. Add the chicken pieces and coat them evenly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook until they are browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet, add butter or ghee and melt it over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and grated ginger, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.

Pour the pureed tomatoes into the skillet and stir well to combine with the onions and spices. Cook the tomato mixture until it thickens and reduces slightly, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the tomato mixture has thickened, add garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, and chili powder to the skillet. Stir well to incorporate the spices into the sauce.

Return the cooked chicken pieces to the skillet and coat them evenly with the tomato sauce. Simmer the chicken in the sauce for an additional 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the chicken to cook through.

Stir in heavy cream and dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) into the sauce, mixing well to combine. Season the butter chicken with salt to taste, adjusting the seasoning as needed.

Once the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency and the chicken is tender, remove the skillet from the heat.

Garnish the butter chicken with freshly chopped cilantro and serve hot with naan bread, rice, or your favorite Indian side dish.


 Authentic butter chicken is more than just a dish; it’s a culinary masterpiece that encapsulates the rich flavors, textures, and traditions of North Indian cuisine. With its velvety smooth sauce, tender chicken pieces, and aromatic spices, this iconic dish promises a sensory experience that delights the palate and warms the soul. By following this recipe and honoring the time-honored techniques of Indian cooking, you can recreate the magic of butter chicken in your own kitchen and savor a taste of culinary bliss.


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