This butter chicken recipe is such a great gate-way recipe to get you to share other cuisines with the family. It’s a lovely blend between Tikka Masala, and Curry.
Indian cuisine is one of my favorites, yet hardly made at home. But this recipe is not only easy to follow, but a cinch to make ahead!
It’s not spicy, so the kids will love it and the flavor profile is out of this world to keep the parents engaged as well!
With its rich flavors, creamy texture, and a touch of warmth, Butter Chicken is a dish that’s guaranteed to put smiles on your loved ones’ faces.
So, roll up your sleeves and let’s dive into the world of aromatic spices and mouth watering flavors!
Ingredients: Unlocking the Secrets of Flavor
Before we embark on this culinary adventure, let’s take a closer look at the star players in this recipe and understand why each ingredient is crucial in creating the perfect Butter Chicken.
- Full-Fat Yogurt: This ingredient serves as a tenderizing agent for the chicken. The acidity in yogurt helps break down the proteins, resulting in tender and succulent meat.
- Garam Masala: This aromatic blend of spices brings depth and complexity to the dish. It’s a symphony of flavors that includes cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and more.
- Kosher Salt: Salt is the cornerstone of any dish. It enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients and helps balance the overall taste.
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs: Chicken thighs are preferred in this recipe because they remain moist and tender during the cooking process, thanks to their higher fat content.
- Avocado Oil: Avocado oil has a high smoke point, making it ideal for sautéing and cooking the spices without imparting any unwanted flavors.
- Yellow Onion, Ginger, and Garlic: These aromatic ingredients form the base of the curry, infusing it with a wonderful depth of flavor.
- Spices (Paprika, Whole Cumin, Turmeric, Garam Masala): These spices are the heart and soul of Butter Chicken. They provide warmth, color, and complexity to the dish.
- Crushed Tomatoes and Water: The crushed tomatoes from the base of the curry, while water helps create a smooth consistency without overpowering the flavors. You can use canned, or a fresh tomato and let it simmer down.
- Heavy Cream and Unsalted Butter: These ingredients lend the creamy and luscious texture that Butter Chicken is known for. They also help mellow out the spices and provide a velvety mouthfeel.
- Steamed Rice: The perfect companion to soak up all the delicious sauce and flavors.
- Fresh Cilantro: This herb adds a burst of freshness and a vibrant pop of color to the final dish.
Equipment needed for Butter Chicken
Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, let’s get moving on to equipment to make our cooking process smooth and enjoyable:
- Cutting Board and Sharp Knife: Essential for dicing the onions, ginger, and garlic with precision.
- Large Skillet or Pan: You’ll need a spacious pan to sauté the onions, ginger, and garlic and create the curry base. When in doubt, go bigger
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula: To stir and combine the ingredients as they cook.
- Measuring Spoons and Cups: Accuracy in measuring spices and liquids is key to achieving the perfect balance of flavors.
- Optional: Blender or Immersion Blender: If you want a smoother sauce consistency, a blender can help achieve that.
and the next is a major win in the equipment category…
Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Containers: Your Partner in Tidy Storage
Let’s talk about the aftermath of creating a masterpiece like Butter Chicken. Especially for a chaotic mess of a cook like myself.
The incredible flavors might be lingering in the air, but the mess in the kitchen is another story. That’s where Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Containers come to the rescue.
After indulging in this delightful Butter Chicken recipe, you’ll want to preserve those leftovers for another mouthwatering meal.
However, the saucy nature of the dish can make storage a challenge. Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Containers offer an airtight and leak-proof solution.
Whether it’s using them to quickly shake up the chicken with the yogurt marinade, or locking up that liquid gold butter chicken, without losing a single ounce on the floor.
Rubbermaids airtight seals are a major win!
Plus, their crystal-clear material makes it easy to identify the contents, saving you time and effort.
And when it’s time to reheat those leftovers, these containers are microwave-safe, allowing you to enjoy your delicious Butter Chicken without any hassle.
Mastering the Art of Butter Chicken: Tips and Tricks
To make your Butter Chicken cooking experience even more delightful, here are some tips:
- Marinating: Allow the chicken to luxuriate in the yogurt and garam masala marinade for at least 30 minutes. The yogurt tenderizes the meat and introduces a hint of tanginess.
- Sautéing: When sautéing the spices, ginger, and garlic, keep the heat medium-low. This prevents the spices from burning and releases their flavors gently.
- The Spice Balance: Adjust the paprika and garam masala according to your family’s spice preference. Want it mild? Go easy. Seeking a fiery kick? Add a bit more.
- Creamy Consistency: When incorporating the heavy cream and butter, maintain a gentle heat to prevent curdling. Stirring constantly ensures a smooth and luxurious texture.
- Garnish: Don’t skip the cilantro garnish. Its fresh burst of flavor perfectly complements the richness of the curry.
Unveiling the Distinction: Butter Chicken vs. Curry Chicken
While both Butter Chicken and Curry Chicken are both absolutely amazing dishes to try if you’re delving into the world of Indian food.
At face value these can look the same, and sometimes get confused with each other. So here’s a breakdown.
Butter Chicken, also known as “Murgh Makhani,” is a luxurious creation that originated in Delhi, India.
This dish is characterized by its tender pieces of marinated chicken, bathed in a creamy tomato-based sauce enriched with butter and cream.
The sauce boasts a harmonious blend of mild spices that enhance the overall richness without overwhelming the palate.
The result is a velvety, comforting dish that appeals to those who appreciate a balance between indulgence and subtlety.
On the other hand, Curry Chicken represents a broader category of dishes with diverse interpretations.
While inspired by Indian cuisine, curry-style preparations have transcended cultural boundaries.
In general, Curry Chicken involves cooking chicken in a flavorful sauce infused with a variety of spices and herbs.
The sauce can vary significantly, ranging from coconut-based to tomato-based, and the spice levels can range from mild to spicy. This diversity allows for an array of flavor profiles that cater to different preferences.
In essence, the difference lies in the sauce and the overall experience. Butter Chicken is synonymous with creamy elegance and restrained spices, delivering a comforting and rich taste.
Curry Chicken, in its many forms, celebrates the versatility of spices and offers a range of flavor experiences.
Whether you’re seeking the velvety charm of Butter Chicken or the dynamic flavors of Curry Chicken, both dishes promise to tantalize your taste buds in their own exceptional ways.
For a family with younger kids like myself, this is where I like to stick to this butter chicken recipe.
And, my son absolutely ate this up!
While I’m particular to the spicier the better when it comes to Indian food, I don’t need to traumatize my kids.
Butter chicken is the definite choice if you’re looking for something delicious and an all around win in the Indian culinary world to share with the fam!
What to Serve with Butter Chicken
While Butter chicken, and 100% be enjoyed on its own, it’s always better to find a companion.
Here are some fantastic options that harmonize beautifully with the luxurious flavors of Butter Chicken:
Basmati Rice: A classic choice that’s practically a match made in culinary heaven. The aromatic, fluffy grains of Basmati rice are the perfect vessel for savoring the rich Butter Chicken sauce.
Without doubt, each bite of tender chicken paired with a forkful of fragrant rice creates a symphony of textures and flavors that’s hard to resist.
Naan Bread: Soft, pillowy naan bread is a staple in Indian cuisine, and for good reason. Tear off a piece, scoop up some Butter Chicken, and experience the delightful contrast between the creamy curry and the slightly charred and chewy naan.
It’s an experience that’s both comforting and so, so satisfying.
Roti: Similar to naan, roti is a versatile Indian flatbread that compliments Butter Chicken beautifully.
Its simplicity allows the flavors of the curry to shine, making it a perfect vehicle for scooping up every last drop of sauce.
Herb-Infused Rice: Elevate your Basmati rice by infusing it with herbs like cilantro, parsley, or mint. This simple touch adds an extra layer of freshness that complements the flavors of the curry.
As a dad who loves sharing his culinary experiences with my family, I can promise you that this Butter Chicken recipe will become a cherished part of your family’s dining traditions as well.
So, don your apron, gather your ingredients, and embark on a flavorful journey that will leave your taste buds singing and your heart full.
Cauliflower Rice: If you’re looking for a low-carb option, consider pairing your Butter Chicken with cauliflower rice.
This healthy alternative absorbs the sauce wonderfully, offering a lighter counterpart to the rich flavors of the dish.
Cucumber Raita: To balance out the richness of Butter Chicken, a cooling cucumber raita is an excellent choice.
The refreshing yogurt-based dip with hints of cucumber, mint, and spices provides a refreshing contrast that cleanses the palate between bites.
Mixed Vegetable Salad: A colorful medley of fresh, crunchy vegetables adds vibrancy and texture to your meal.
The cool and crisp salad complements the warm and creamy Butter Chicken, creating a well-rounded dining experience.
Steamed Vegetables: Steam vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and green beans, provide a healthy and wholesome element to your meal.
Their natural sweetness and tender texture create a delightful contrast with the savory curry.
Mango Chutney: For those who enjoy a hint of sweetness to balance the richness, mango chutney is a wonderful addition.
Its fruity and tangy notes create a delightful interplay with the savory Butter Chicken.
FOR THE CHICKEN MARINADE:
- 1 cup full-fat yogurt
- 1 Tbsp garam masala
- 1 Tbsp osher salt
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
FOR THE BUTTER CHICKEN CURRY:
- 4 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2- inch ginger finely diced
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 tsp Salt more to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp whole cumin
- 1 Tbsp garam masala
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 14 oz crushed tomatoes
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Mix yogurt, garam masala, and kosher salt. Coat chicken thighs with the marinade. Marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Heat avocado oil. Sauté onion until translucent, then add ginger and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garam masala, and turmeric.
- Add marinated chicken. Sear until lightly browned. Pour in crushed tomatoes and water. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Uncover, pour in heavy cream, and stir gently. Add unsalted butter and stir until sauce is smooth.
- Ladle creamy Butter Chicken onto plates. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Pair with rice, naan, or your preferred side.