Indian Butter Chicken.

Adapted from here.



  • 1 lb. chicken, thinly sliced across the grain
    • Alternatively, get the pre-cooked, hand pulled chicken from Costco (generally in the open refrigerated sections with the cheeses, pies, and raw meats). Much faster, and the chicken is always perfect.
  • 2 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp EACH:ginger paste and garlic paste (I use 2 tsp of this)
  • 1/2 C yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tbsp oil


  • 4 tbsp ghee
    • Essential - do not substitute or skip
    • This is also called clarified butter
    • Get it cheap from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tsp EACH: ginger paste and garlic paste (I use 3 tsp of this)
  • 1 14.5oz can crushed tomato
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (up to 1 tsp)
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp coriander powder (yes, tablespoons)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup heavy whipping cream (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (not seeds), to taste



In a medium bowl, combine the tandoori masala, ginger, garlic, and yogurt. Whisk until smooth. Add the chicken and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes.


Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they turn translucent and don’t allow the onions to brown. Add ginger and garlic paste and let cook for 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn’t burn. Add the can of crushed tomatoes along with the chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder and continue to cook for 5 minutes, if the mixture starts bubbling rapidly, add about ¼ cup of water and continue to cook.

Remove from heat, add the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth (puree it like your life depends on it), you may need to add a couple tablespoons of water to help it blend (up to ¼ cup). Depending on how powerful your blender is, you may want to blend the mixture in two batches. Remember to hold the lid of the blender down with a kitchen towel when blending, to avoid accidents.

Optional (but recommended): run the mixture through a sieve and discard whatever doesn’t make it through - it doesn’t go through fast, you have to help it along with a spoon and it can take several minutes. This really helps get you the smooth, glossy texture you see in restaurants.

Rinse out the pot.


Heat the oil in pot over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken (discard any excess marinade) and cook until browned and cooked through. (Skip this step if you’re using the pre-cooked chicken).

Add the butter chicken sauce to the pot and heat everything through. Once it starts to bubble, add the cream and garam masala, and optionally an additional 3-6 tablespoons of ghee (recommended). When the sauce regains a simmer, add the crushed fenugreek leaves. Serve over basmati rice or with naan.


Adding 1/4 tsp each of salt, sugar, and msg, per cup of rice (before cooking), subtly balances out the rice. This seems to match the flavor of the rice at the restaurants, I think they must be doing a similar thing.