Recipe: Butter Chicken

For me, butter chicken has always been take it or leave it. However, I absolutely changed my mind when I cooked it myself. It was so creamy and delicious, and so jam-packed with flavour. I could quite happily just eat the sauce with the rice, that’s how tasty it was.

This is an authentic butter chicken recipe, adapted from the Little India cookbook. It uses no sugar, which is uncommon for most Western butter chicken recipes. It doesn’t lose its sweetness though – even without butter or sugar this dish still melts in in the mouth. YUM!


  • 2 T plain unsweetened yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 t fenugreek
  • 1 t garam masala
  • 1 t crushed garlic
  • 1 t crushed ginger
  • 500 g boneless chicken
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 onion, pureed if possible
  • 1 T crushed garlic
  • 1 T crushed ginger
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 2.5 t garam masala
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T fenugreek
  • 2 medium tomatoes (or a can)
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1.5 c cream
  • 2 T crushed cashew nuts
  • 1/2 c boiling water
  • Coriander to serve


  1. The night before, marinate the chicken in the first measure of yoghurt, salt and pepper, fenugreek, garam masala, garlic and ginger. Cover and leave in the fridge over night.
  2. Turn the oven to 220°C fan-bake.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place chicken across the baking paper. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is starting to char. Cut the chicken into cubes.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until almost brown. Add the garlic and ginger and once soft, add turmeric, garam masala, salt and fenugreek and cook until aromatic.
  5. Stir through the tomato and tomato paste and keep cooking until the oil starts to separate from the tomato mixture.
  6. Add the chicken to the tomato mix and cook for about five minutes. Lower the heat to add the cream and then gradually increase the heat as the cashew nuts and boiling water is added.
  7. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice and/or naan.

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