Finger Lickin’ Butter Chicken Recipe

Delicious restaurant-style butter chicken made right at home with simple ingredients. This recipe is exactly how they make butter chicken in restaurants — and I’ve had people tell me it’s actually better! Trust me when I say it’s finger-licking' good!

INGREDIENTS:
CHICKEN MARINADE:

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons tandoori masala (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ginger paste and garlic paste (I used Gourmet Garden)
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon oil

BUTTER CHICKEN SAUCE:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) (see note)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon EACH: ginger paste and garlic paste (I used Gourmet Garden)
  • 1 (14.5 ounces) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (crushed between fingers)

DIRECTIONS:
CHICKEN:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the tandoori masala, ginger, garlic, and yogurt. Whisk until smooth, adjust seasonings to preference. Add the chicken and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes and ideally for 12-24 hours, covered in the refrigerator.

BUTTER CHICKEN SAUCE:

  1. Heat the ghee in a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they turn translucent and start to sweat, about 5-7 minutes, don’t allow the onions to brown. Add ginger and garlic paste and let cook for 30 seconds, stirring, so it doesn’t burn. Add the can of crushed tomatoes along with the chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder and continue to cook for 5 minutes, if the mixture starts bubbling rapidly, add about ¼ cup of water and continue to cook.
  2. Remove from heat, add the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, you may need to combine couple water with helping it blend (up to ¼ cup).  Depending on how powerful your blender is, you may want to mix the mixture in two batches. Remember to hold the lid of the blender down with a kitchen towel when blending to avoid accidents.
  3. MAKE AHEAD OPTION: At this point, you can cool and refrigerate the sauce for 24-48 hours (or freeze it for up to 3 months), it will help blend the flavors even more, just remember to bring the sauce back to room temperature (use the microwave) before proceeding with the recipe OR you can continue on with the method immediately.

ASSEMBLY:

  1. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the dutch oven over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken (discard any excess marinade) and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring as required to brown all sides. Add the butter chicken sauce to the pot and heat everything through. Once it starts to bubble, add the cream and garam masala. When the sauce regains a simmer, add the crushed fenugreek leaves. Serve over basmati rice or with naan.

NOTES:

  1. Fan of dark meat chicken? You can replace the cubed chicken breasts with cubed boneless, skinless chicken thighs for more added flavor.
  2. GHEE: If you can’t find it, you replace it with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil.
  3. TANDOORI MASALA: is available in powder/ paste form. I prefer the powder, but some of my readers recommended Patak’s brand tandoori paste. You’ll need about 2-4 tablespoons of the dough (to preference).
  4. CHILI POWDER: optional! If you prefer milder food, you may want to leave it out as the tandoori masala already has heat. Traditionally, a spicy pepper similar to cayenne is used. If you can’t find Indian or Pakistani chili powder (usually sold at Indian stores), replace it with cayenne. 1 teaspoon can be a lot, so if you prefer a milder flavor, replace with 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon.
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