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Monday, March 16, 2015

The Butteriest Indian Butter Chicken - Murgh Makhani - Gluten Free

Several years ago, I visited an Indian restaurants in West Austin. We ordered the butter chicken, and it was so addictively good, we visited the same restaurant weekly for the dish. In my typical style, instead of being satisfied with eating it at the restaurant, I wanted to make it at home. I had dabbled in Indian cuisine often. The Hundred Foot Journey novel by Richard C. Morias was my style of food porn.
The butteriest butter chicken ever.
This would not be new for me, except that I couldn’t find a recipe that gave me the same results as the restaurant. Sometimes the sauce just wasn’t rich enough. sometimes I felt that the spices seemed really grainy. I just didn’t like the results. So the obvious next steps would be to create my own recipe with major changes to the original ones I found. My version is very buttery and rich with a slow burn. I found doing the yogurt thing (like many other recipes call for) didn’t work out well for me. I do use the traditional yogurt marinade in other recipes though. If you like cilantro, this will be like crack for you. If not, just leave the cilantro out.This recipe happens to be gluten-free as written. 
2-4 chicken breasts. Mo’ chicken, mo’ meat. Use less meat if you like mo’ sauce. Pound these babies flat like a pancake. You can use chicken thighs instead if you like.
4 tablespoons of butter to start. If you like that you need more butter, by all means, don’t let me hold you back.
1 medium onion, sliced into strips. You can chop it too.
4 serrano or jalapeno peppers (optional). Wash and slice on the diagonal. If you are feeling only a little brave, take out the insides or leave them out completely.
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste - or make your own ginger garlic paste. (Subbing fresh garlic and chopped fresh ginger is fine too. Honestly, when you make this at home, no one is going to tell you what to do.)
Cumin, To Taste
Garam Masala
Fenugreek to taste
6-8 Tablespoons Butter
About 30oz tomatoes. I used canned diced tomatoes, and I run it through the Bullet blender for a quick minute.
1 cup heavy cream
1 giant bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 bay leaf

  1. In a large pan, heat up some butter on high heat. I like at least 6 tablespoons for two large chicken breasts. I use a deep 18 inch pan with a non-stick surface for this. Pounded flat, the chicken takes up quite  a bit of surface area. Once the butter is bubbling and starting to brown, I add in the chicken letting is sizzle away. Don’t fuss with the chicken like a wild 80’s hair-do. Just leave it be for several minutes. Once the chicken has brown crusty bits on one side, flip it over and crispy up the other side.  Remove chicken from the pan making sure to lets all the delicious juices fall back into the pan.
  2. With the pan still sizzling, add the garlic, ginger, and spices. Let the aromas bloom and marry together or a few seconds while stirring vigorously. Then add the onions into the pan and stir to coat. You can turn the pan down to medium at this point and add the bay leaf and peppers. The recipes call for four, but I put in 6-8 on a good day. If I’m cooking for others or kids, I leave out the peppers. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  3. As the onions are cooking, turn your attention back to the chicken. I personally like to chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. You can cut them into strips or leave them whole.
  4. Once the onions are translucent, add in your tomatoes and stir them in. I like to run my through the blender for a bit to get a smoother sauce. If you like yours chunkier, leave them diced. You can also add in the chicken at this point along with the drippings of the chicken from when you chopped the chicken.
  5. When the entire mixture is bubbling and heated thoroughly, throw in some handfuls of cilantro if you are a cilantro lover. Then slowly stream in the heavy cream and stir gently. I recommended 1 cup of cream, but you can add more or less depending on your creaminess preference.
  6. Serve with hot naan and/or basmati rice and sprinkle with more cilantro.

There you go. An untraditional recipe for a very traditional Indian dish. This one screams cream and butter that like you wouldn’t believe.
Browning the chicken in butter.
In goes the onions, spices, ginger, and garlic.
Finish it off with some heavy cream once all the ingredients have simmered.
After the chicken, tomatoes, and cilantro are added.


  1. This looks amazing. Will have to add this to my list of recipes to try.

  2. I love this recipe. One of my favorites. Thank you for sharing this.