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Butter Chicken (Makhni)

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Much of those who love butter chicken would devour this tasty curry! It shares a similar creamy texture, but its a little less sweet and bursting with flavour. It is especially delicious with naan and rice, this is my favourite creation! That is a bold statement because I love all my recipes so you can imagine how amazing this dish must be!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Serves: 6 people

Butter Chicken (Makhni)
Butter Chicken (Makhni)

So yes, given my passion for exploring food and recipes, it's a tall claim that this dish is my favourite creation, but it's true! After cooking it, I just know dinner is going to be amazing when I make it. The depth of flavour comes from the red peppers, onions, tomatoes and cashew nuts. And the ginger, garlic and spices comes together harmoniously to create mouth watering flavours and textures.

It's a mindful moment to tear off a piece of naan and collect some chicken and gravy in it's small pocket, following by taking an indulgent bite. I close my eyes and don't even want to know what everyone thinks because the answer is in all the humming and slurps!

This is is not hard to make, the steps are simple and every moment you spend in the kitchen is worthwhile. Save this one friends, it's a guaranteed delicious indian meal!

Ingredient spotlight

Raw cashew nuts is an important ingredient that adds a creamy texture and nutty flavour, I recommend not skipping or substituting this ingredient.

Red pepper adds a sweet and slightly citrusy flavour to the curry, contributing to the depth of flavour.

Gharam Masala is a common ingredient but the combination of ingredients used to make it vary drastically between each household or brand that you buy. Be sure that you buy one that you like the smell of otherwise this could significantly impact the flavour of the dish.

Chicken breast is my choice of chicken for this dish because it remains tender, moist and adds substance to the curry. It can be replaced with the equivalent amount in weight of chicken thighs.

Tips and tricks

  • Serve with naan, plain rice and salad with lettuce and homestyle caesar salad dressing.

  • Before reheating add 1/2 cup of water and the gravy getting dried out pretty fast.

  • Don't be intimidated by the number of ingredients, it's worthwhile and you probably have them all already in your pantry and fridge!

  • When brazing, take your time and make sure the onions and tomatoes braze well, otherwise the raw ingredients could change the flavour of the dish.

Butter Chicken (Makhni) Recipe

Prep time

10 minutes

Cook time

50 minutes

Total time

1 hour


6 people


For the gravy

3 tbsp oil

2 dried red chillies

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick (2 inches)

1 medium onion or 2 small onions sliced

1 red pepper sliced

1 heaped tablespoon chopped garlic

1 level tablespoon chopped ginger

1 handful of cashew nuts

1 1/2 medium tomato sliced

2 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (1 if you prefer it spicy)

1 cup of water

For the curry

2 tbsp butter

6 boneless chicken thighs cut into cubes

1tsp salt

1 tsp gharam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp garlic and garlic

3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon Kashmiri methi

1/2 cup whipping cream/ heavy cream or 3/4 cup half and half

1 1/2 tbsp honey (more if you prefer it sweeter)


Lets start with the gravy:

  1. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat.

  2. Add red chillies, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Sizzle for 1 minute or until slightly brown in colour.

  3. Add in onions, red pepper, garlic, ginger and cashew nuts, mix and braze for 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Stir, close the lid, and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove the lid and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the water has all evaporated or the oil separates from the mixture.

  5. Remove the red chillies, cinnamon stick and bay leaves with a fork, and blend the mixture well with 1 cup of water until smooth.

Now lets make the curry:

  1. Warm butter in the same pan on medium-high heat.

  2. Add chicken, ginger/garlic paste, gharam masala, turmeric and salt. Cook uncovered for 5-7minutes or until the water has evaporated.

  3. Add the gravy and 3/4 cup water and stir well.

  4. Remove from the heat, add cream, honey and stir well. Add more water if you prefer a more thinner gravy.

  5. Crush the Kashmiri methi between your hinds and sprinkle over the curry and stir.

  6. Cover and serve while warm! Enjoy!


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