Butter chicken

The macro is strong in this one

The macro is strong in this one

This is the first time I think I really nailed an Indian dish. Normally there is that little something missing, but this time I think the depth of flavour was there.

In my head, I am comparing it to a dish I had last week, when I went with a colleague to a restaurant near the office. The version there was excellent in flavour and the inspiration for tonight’s experiment. In contrast to my version, however, it was radioactive red; nevertheless, I think my humble interpretation is not lagging behind in flavour.

I made the extra effort of boning the chicken thighs, and then made a soup with the bones. Bonus points! To make butter chicken, I sightly modified the recipe I found in the wonderful book by Sanjeev Kapoor, “How to Cook Indian.”

Butter chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: a little effort
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  • 8 bio chicken legs, deboned
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the marinade
  • 150 g Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
For the sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kasoori methi
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons double cream (45%)


  1. Mix the chicken pieces in a bowl with the chile powder, lemon juice, and the salt. Leave to stand in the fridge for 30 min.
  2. Add the marinade ingredients to the chicken mix, and leave to stand for three to four hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, fan. Put the chicken in a large baking sheet in one layer and bake for about 20 min.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place a small nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the kasoori methi and toss for 2 minutes to make it crisp. Set aside.
  5. Place a pan over low heat and add the butter. When it melts, add the cardamom and nutmeg, and cook until fragrant. Add the sweet paprika and cook for about a minute more.
  6. Add the garlic, ginger, and tomatoes, and stir well. Add the kasoori methi. Cook for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes become pulpy.
  7. Transfer the sauce mixture to a liquidizer and process until smooth. Strain into the bowl and discard any remaining solids in the strainer.1
  8. Return the mixture to the pan and add the baked chicken. Add the honey. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  9. Add the double cream and turn off the heat.
  10. Serve with basmati rice.

  1. This is important. Don’t be lazy!

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