Butter Chicken

Welcome to my little food blog, the Little Relish!  I hope you thoroughly enjoy the recipes posted on here.  Most of them will not require a hefty amount of culinary prowess – and I’m hoping to appeal to you all and make them simple to follow, with delicious results.  Little Relish is officially open for business!

Now, growing up I was always under the impression that anything called “butter chicken” was just that.  Literally, a whole chicken cooked in a block of butter until it was smothered in food-coma inducing, buttery goodness (this sounded much more plausible when I was 7 years old…).  Since being introduced to the real butter chicken, I have been searching endlessly for that one recipe that has it all; the creaminess, the smooth tomato flavour with a hint of spice, and the undeniable undertones of fenugreek.  Without that, it isn’t a butter chicken.  This recipe is based on one I watched on an episode of Masterchef one night – the end result looked absolutely divine, and I knew I had to recreate it.

Creamy Butter Chicken 

Serves 4 (prepare this recipe at least 3 hours ahead of desired cooking time, preferably a day before)

The results of my butter chicken.  So god damn tasty.

The results of my butter chicken. So god damn tasty.


Tandoori Chicken

  • 600g skinless chicken thigh fillets, roughly cut into large pieces
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder *
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (don’t use the wet ones in a jar) *
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Butter Sauce

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 5 green cardamon pods, crushed in mortar & pestle
  • 2 tbsp cashew paste (can be made by using food processor to blend raw cashews with small amount of water)
  • 70ml tomato paste
  • 600g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 whole brown onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 grams blade mace *
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • thickened cream
  • 1/2 green chilli, finely chopped (plus another 1/2 green chilli for garnishing)
  • 1/2 red chilli (for garnish)
  • small bunch fresh coriander
  • 1-2 cup to 2/3 cup chicken stock (can vary, more or less depending on desired thickness of sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • thickened cream




  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the tandoori chicken marinade in a bowl except for the canola oil. Once mixed, add the chopped chicken to the marinade and coat thoroughly.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours, however overnight is preferred for maximum flavour.
  2. Prepare the grill by preheating to medium-high heat, enough to get a golden brown coating on the chicken while it is in there.  Place a tray or aluminium foil underneath the grill tray to collect the drippings (you will need these later!).  Grill the chicken for 8 to 12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through, brushing the already grilled side with oil and then turning over after 5 minutes so underneath can also get cooked thoroughly.  Remove from grill once done and set aside.
  3. Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until clear, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the pan.  Add ginger paste, green chilli, crushed cardamon, blade mace and cashew paste.  Fry until slightly fragrant.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock and salt.  Reduce heat to low and simmer the mix, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool (note: this is only based on my food processor which is rather old, but I had to leave mine to cool for at least half an hour before I could blend it).
  5. Once cool, blend to a puree until you’re left with a smooth sauce.  Place a sieve over a large, deep bowl and strain the sauce through it.  Once strained, return the smooth sauce to the same frying pan used earlier and cook over a low to medium heat.
  6. Once the sauce is heated through, add the honey, tandoori chicken and the chicken drippings (see, I told you they would come in handy!).   Stir the sauce thoroughly, and simmer for a further 5 to 6 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the garam masala, kashmiri chilli powder and the fenugreek leaves over.  Add the butter, stir until melted through.  Stir  in a dollop of cream (depending on the level of creaminess you want) and remove from heat immediately.
  8. Garnish with extra chilli, coriander and a little cream (kind of makes it look like a swirl pattern).  Service with rice and naan!


* if you cannot find blade mace (like I can’t seem to ever), you can substitute with grated nutmeg for a similar flavour.

* kashmiri chilli powder can be replaced with 3 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne pepper.

* dried fenugreek leaves can be hard to find, you can replace these with finely chopped celery leaves.

This entry was published on June 21, 2013 at 6:48 am. It’s filed under Mains and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Butter Chicken

  1. barb24 on said:

    looooks delish littlerelish !! im going to cook that…:)

  2. Natty on said:

    I can vouch for this recipe. It is delicious!

  3. This has to be one of my favourites now! Thank you for the recipe, can’t wait to get more from you :3

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