Murgh Makhani | Hari Ghotra
3.8/5 rating (20 votes)

Murgh Makhani

Butter Chicken

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Prep 5 mins
  • Cook 30 mins
Murgh Makhani

A delicious, smooth, bright red butter sauce delicately spiced and finished with cream.

Hari says

Also known as butter chicken this isn't for the faint hearted - a sauce that's rich and has a wonderful creamy, smooth texture as well as having the iconic funky red colour. There are so many different ways to cook this dish and you can change the recipe to make it more healthy if you choose, but on the few occasions you will eat this I believe it's better to indulge a little and go for flavour.

I have found that most other recipes tend to marinade the chicken in a tandoori type marinade and add the cooked chicken to the sauce. For me the important bit about this dish is the sauce and getting the colour and texture right. The vibrant red colour comes from a mixture of bright red tomatoes and the kashmiri chilli powder and not from food colouring so I focus on this and not on marinading the chicken. If you do want to marinade your chicken then follow my chicken tikka masla recipe for the chicken marinade.

This dish is always finished off with fenugreek which gives it its characteristic flavour (and splash of cream and a secret spoonful of butter...shhhhh!). Some people prefer a slightly sweeter version so the option to sweeten it up with sugar or honey is there, but for me I like the sweetness to come from the cassia bark which balances the richness of the butter and the acidity of the tomatoes perfectly.

To buy the main ingredients for my Makhani, check out my curry kit here.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 8 chicken thighs, skinned, trimmed and cut into cubes

Tomato sauce

  • 2 medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4cm stick cassia bark
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 ripe red tomatoes roughly chopped/400g tin plum tomatoes

Masala

  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 100ml double cream 
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp of butter 

Tomato Sauce

  1. Put onion, chillies, ginger, garlic, cassia bark, green cardamom, cloves, black pepper and salt into a pan and cover with water (approx. 500ml). Bring to the boil.
  2. Add the tomatoes and leave to simmer for 15-20 min on medium heat stirring occasionally.
  3. After the sauce has reduced and the mixture has thickened remove the pan from the heat. Remove the cassia bark and let the mixture cool down.
  4. Blend to a fine sauce using a hand blender until it's smooth, strain through a sieve to ensure you are left with a smooth sauce.

Masala

  1. In a second pan heat the ghee or butter, once hot add cumin seeds and as soon as you can smell the musky cumin aroma stir in the tomato sauce. Be very careful as this will spit. Fry the sauce until the oil separates out.
  2. Stir in turmeric, Kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder and cook for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the chicken to the pan, stir to coated and leave to simmer for 15 minutes on a gentle heat.
  3. Add a little hot water to loosen if required and then the honey. Cook for a further 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through - the gravy should be a lovely bright red colour.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream (or yoghurt), fenugreek and the garam masala.
  5. Add some butter or cream on top before serving.

 and blend to a fine sauce.


Served with

A wonderful dish that needs very little else apart from to be dished up with a small bowl of Bsmati rice - just perfect

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Calories99
Fat (g)6.4
of which saturates (g)3.5
Carbohydrates (g)2.6
of which sugars (g)2.1
Fibre (g)0.6
Protein (g)8.3
Salt (mg)0.49
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

This goes well with

Share this

“ Thank you for printing this recipe for my delicious Murgh Makhani ”

Comments

Comments (25)

  • Nisse

    Nisse

    08 July 2016 at 10:41 |
    Thank you! :) I tried with the fresh fenugreek and it turned out really, really nice! I also went a bit crazy and used home made bone broth instead of the water (in step 1), just to get even more good stuff in there. Super yummie!!! :) In fact it was so good that I forgot to even take a picture before eating it - I'll try to remember next time lol.
    Thank you so much for giving us all these amazing recipes (and such a beautifully made website!). Im certainly gonna try more of these :)

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      14 July 2016 at 09:35 |
      Hi Nisse that wonderful to hear - thank you for trying the recipe and using fresh fenugreek. I'm so pleased you enjoyed using the website. Please do let me know which other recipes you try and how you get on. Thanks very much. Hari

      reply

  • Nisse

    Nisse

    06 July 2016 at 08:44 |
    Hi! I'd like to try this recipe, but here in Norway I havent been able to find fenugreek leaves in any form - so, this year Im actually growing them in my garden lol. Would it be ok to use fresh fenugreek leaves in this recipe, or should I dry them first?

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      06 July 2016 at 10:28 |
      Hi Nisse I have to say I am admiring your dedication!!! Growing your own methi (fenugreek) is very impressive indeed. You can now use this for all sorts of dishes. Try the Methi Murgh and Kharee both on the website. For this dish fresh methi will be fine, I may change the colour from the bright orange it's supposed to be but the flavour will be great. Just a small handful chopped fine should do it - not too much as it can be a bit bitter. Let me know how you get on I'd love to see a picture too. Thanks so much for using the website. Hari

      reply

  • Tonja

    Tonja

    10 March 2016 at 05:33 |
    I cooked this recipe tonight and absolutely loved it. I couldn't get my hands on any green finger chiles, so I used one green Thai chile and it added the perfect amount of spice. I also ordered your kit to prepare this dish and I have to say that it was so easy! I love how everything in the kit was packaged and numbered. It made the preparation a breeze. I look forward to ordering more kits to really orient me to cooking fresh Indian cuisine from scratch. Thank you!

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      10 March 2016 at 18:57 |
      Hi Tonja I so happy to hear that you enjoyed using the kit and that you loved this dish. The whole point of the kits is exactly as you said to help those who may be a little less confident when it comes to Indian food and to give a helping hand to cook beautiful Indian dishes from scratch. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the other kits. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Stefan

    Stefan

    28 December 2015 at 18:42 |
    Thanks for the recipe!
    For the green chillies, which type do you normally use? And is it possible to substitute for dried chillies? I am not sure if they're in there for heat or flavor (or both).

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      02 January 2016 at 12:39 |
      Hi Stefan I usually use green rocket chillies, they are the long thin ones also called finger chillies. I tend to use fresh chillies to add a fresh heat and dried chillies for that extra kick. Dried chillies have a different flavour and add different flavours to your dish. Some can be smokey some can be used for colour so depends on what type of dry chilli you have. But if that's all you have then yes you can substitute it. The heat from dried red chillies can vary so just be aware of how hot they are - you don't want to overdo it. Hope this helps - let me know how you get on. Hari

      reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    06 May 2015 at 07:41 |
    Hi Helene
    I am really glad you like this recipe - I think it's delicious too. I usually leave the bark in and blend the lot but if you prefer removing it once the sauce is cooked then thats fine too. I say coriander powder in the recipe to refer to the crushed coriander seeds but if thats confusing I will amend that. Thanks you so much for the feedback and thanks for trying the recipes. Do let me know what else you try. Thanks for your support. Hari

    reply

  • Helene Klaustrup

    Helene Klaustrup

    05 May 2015 at 18:36 |
    Hi Hari!

    Just cooked this scrumptious butter chicken for the second time, it is definitely becoming a firm household favourite!

    I did notice that the recipe doesn’t mention removing the bark before blending which isn't what I've been doing... Should I leave the bark in and blend it with the rest?

    Also I spotted that it says crushed coriander seeds in the ingredients list but coriander powder in the recipe. I've tried it with both now and can confirm that each way is equally delicious :)

    Oh and finally I have to say that your way of adding garam masala after it has finished cooking is brilliant! Never would have thought of that myself! Am doing it with all my favourite Indian recipes now!

    Helene

    reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    05 May 2015 at 15:26 |
    Hi Becky
    Really really pleased you enjoyed it. Let me know what you try next and welcome to HG website. I hope you find lots more recipes to try. Thanks

    reply

  • Becky Curran

    Becky Curran

    05 May 2015 at 15:22 |
    Absolutely delicious! First recipe of yours we have tried and can't wait to try the rest. Thanks!

    reply

  • James Morris

    James Morris

    13 April 2015 at 23:46 |
    Hi Hari

    Great sounding recipe! Really looking forward to trying this tomorrow!

    Will let you know how I get on.

    Many thanks

    James

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    10 March 2015 at 13:33 |
    Hi Kenny
    Thanks so much for your comments - glad it worked out well. I really love this dish, nice and simple but bursting with flavour. Do let me know what you try next time.
    Thanks Hari

    reply

  • Kenny Thomas

    Kenny Thomas

    08 March 2015 at 07:10 |
    Lovely dish we enjoyed it very much. We used the chicken tikka recipe from you CTM.

    Thanks for the recipe

    Kenny

    reply

  • Gareth crawford

    Gareth crawford

    23 February 2015 at 12:53 |
    That's great, we will give it a shot and let you know how we get on.

    Thanks a lot.
    Gareth.

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    23 February 2015 at 09:12 |
    Hi Gareth
    Yes these are called Sirke Wali Piyaz. The red colour usually comes from beetroot, the onions are usually small whole shallots which have a reddish tinge but you can use sliced red onions too.
    Very rough recipe:
    250g small onions or shallots left whole or red onions peeled and cut into large chunks.
    500ml water
    1 tbs salt,
    2 slices of beetroot for colour
    750ml white or cider vinegar - not a dark coloured vinegar.
    1-2 tsp. sugar (optional)

    1. Put the onions into a jar.
    2. Boil water and beetroot together. Take beetroot out and discard.
    3. Add salt and mix well and leave it to cool completely.
    4. Mix salted water with vinegar and pour it over the onions in the jar so they are fully covered.
    5. Leave for a few hours.
    6. Serve drained

    These will keep for about 2 weeks - Hope this helps. Hari

    reply

  • gareth crawford

    gareth crawford

    22 February 2015 at 21:01 |
    Thanks for your reply.

    The onions I am used to i think maybe pickled, with vinegar maybe? Also they usually have a red colour, from chilli powder i guess.

    we are planning to cook this again, paneer sagg and a lamb curry along with some sides and starters soon for a dinner party so I will let you know how we get on and maybe even send some pics! Really looking forward to trying everything from the site if this recipe was anything to go by!

    Thanks.

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    22 February 2015 at 20:22 |
    Hi Gareth

    Thanks for getting on touch and letting me know you enjoyed the dish. It's a real favourite in my house too. The onions are really simple - dice them finely, wash leave them to dry. Squeeze over lemon juice a little salt and if you want to you can add a little fresh coriander, a little garam masala and if you want to a little green chilli too. Do let me know what you try next. Enjoy Hari.

    reply

  • gareth crawford

    gareth crawford

    22 February 2015 at 19:40 |
    Hi Hari!

    Thanks for this recipe, I made it yesterday along with your garlic naan bread and it was awesome. Really tasted great however i think i could have let the sauce reduce a little more before blending, i think iy maybe lacked just a little depth in flavour. that said it was still delicious haha!!

    even better the next day also! :)

    could i ask if you have a recipe for those pickled onions you often find as an a-compliment to poppadoms in indian restaurants?

    thanks again, can't wait to try more of your recipes!!!

    gareth.

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    12 January 2015 at 08:49 |
    Hi Jack Thanks for letting me know - I will update this. Yes you put them in on step one. Hari

    reply

  • Jack

    Jack

    12 January 2015 at 00:23 |
    Hi Hari,

    It says 3 Cloves in the ingredients but they aren't mentioned in the recipe. I guess they go with the rest of the whole spices at the beginning?

    reply

  • Hannah

    Hannah

    27 May 2014 at 12:17 |
    Thanks Hari - I made it last night, I definitely put too much water in but it was still yummy, and the kids said that it was their favourite so far so I will definitley make it again

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    26 May 2014 at 20:54 |
    Hi Hannah
    Thanks for the question. Just enough to cover the onions so there is about 2cm of water above them (500ml but it depends on the size of the pan you are using). When you blitz it should be the consistency of tomato soup. If it's a bit watery then leave it to simmer until it reduces and thickens slightly.

    reply

  • Hannah

    Hannah

    26 May 2014 at 16:46 |
    Hari, how much water do you put in the pan when you're boiling the ingredients in step 1?

    reply

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.

Contact
“ Don’t forget you can stay up-to-date with all my latest recipes by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Google and Pinterest or by subscribing to my YouTube channel ”
Hari Ghotra