Butter Chicken – With a Twist

The most iconic North Indian dish with a twist that makes it stand out from the rest.

Butter chicken or Murgh makhani, two words to describe one of the most iconic dishes of Indian cuisine. It has come a long way from its humble beginnings, where it used to be made with leftover chicken pieces. So I have taken this culinary star and given it a few tweaks which make it stand out from the rest.

You might be wondering what makes this butter chicken special. Well, with the first bite you will taste the juicy charcoal grilled chicken entwined with the rich tomato gravy. And the flavor of the masala is so authentic it will surprise you. Learning how to create the smoky flavor for the chicken and the richness for the gravy without cream is something unique to this recipe.

How to make restaurant style butter chicken at home in just few simple steps

  1. Make the special garam masala.
  2. Then, prepare the marinade and marinate chicken.
  3. Infuse smokey flavour and pan grill the chicken
  4. Prepare the rich tomato gravy and cook chicken.

What to serve with Butter Chicken

Serve this Mughlai dish with naan, tandoori roti or any flat bread, ghee rice or plain rice. 

If you like exploring different cuisines just like me, check out my Cuban chicken recipe here, that you can pair with some delicious Cuban black beans.

Butter Chicken – With a Twist

Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 25 min Total Time 40 mins


Now recreating this aromatic staple has been made extremely simple through the following steps. So let's step together into this delicious cauldron and come out with a masterpiece.


For garam masala

For mariande



  1. Prepare garam masala

    Dry roast the ingredients for the garam masala. Cool, grind and store in an airtight container.

  2. Marinate chicken

    Wash and pat dry chicken pieces. Grind together ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander and mint leaves. Marinate chicken with the above ground paste and rest of the ingredients listed under marinade for 1 to 2 hrs or overnight.

  3. Smoking chicken

    Burn 2 small pieces of charcoal on the stove. Place it in a small bowl. Place this bowl in the center of the marinated chicken. Pour one tbsp. of ghee over the charcoal. Quickly cover the bowl containing chicken. Keep it covered for 15 min so that the chicken absorbs the smokiness of the charcoal.

  4. Cook chicken

    Heat a heavy bottom pan. Place the chicken pieces on the hot pan and cook the chicken on both sides on high flame for 10 to 15 min without any oil or ghee. Transfer the chicken into a bowl. Reserve the extra marinade for later.

  5. Prepare the gravy

    Blanch 5 to 6 medium tomatoes. Peel the skin and grind. Melt butter in the pan which we  used for cooking chicken. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 min. Add tomato puree and cook until the water evaporates. Add tomato paste, extra marinade (if any) cashew ground (grind raw cashews with water into a fine paste) and cook until the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan.  Add water or fresh chicken stock and cook for 2 min.

  6. Add chicken to the gravy

    Add garam masala, dry fenugreek powder to the gravy. Cook for 2 min and add chicken, half of coriander leaves, green chillies. Taste the gravy and add salt to taste. Simmer on medium flame. Add water or fresh chicken stock as needed.Cook chicken until it is tender and has absorbed the flavors. Add the rest of the coriander leaves. The gravy should be buttery and rich and bursting with flavors of garam masala and fenugreek. Take it off the flame. Drizzle cream and serve warm.

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