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Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

When you think about it, Butter Chicken is one of those dishes that comforts, satisfies and tastes delicious. While many people think it is a restaurant food, it is actually very easy to make at home and is the perfect recipe when you have a hungry crowd to feed!

This recipe is so simple and with the addition of a little secret ingredient you get so much flavor without the extra step of grilling the chicken in a tandoor. So what is the this special little ingredient? Black cumin seeds (also known as black nigella seeds or kalonji). These are easily found in your Indian grocery store and are a wonderful addition to so many dishes and I love them on my Butter Naan or cheese toast too - totally yum!)

You can also get that added "tandoor smokiness" without a tandoor, thanks to a great little product that instantly adds natural smokiness - a magical liquid called All Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke. Just be aware that a little goes a long way and it will last you ages! I've listed a couple of online links that sell it below:

While many people have a perception of Butter Chicken as a rich and heavy dish this recipe is packed with goodness! Tomatoes, the base of this gravy are rich lycopene, an antioxidant that has many health benefits including protection against sunburns, certain types of cancers and is especially good for men's health while garlic and ginger are prized for their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition Indian spices are well known for their many health promoting properties, yogurt is great for gut health and in Ayurvedic medicine ghee is considered a highly nourishing food for the body - so in many ways, there is a lot to enjoy both in terms of taste and nutrition.


  • For best results the chicken should marinate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight stored in an airtight container in your fridge

  • The black cumin seeds (aka kalonji or black nigella seeds) and fenugreek really add flavor - you can get both of these at any Indian grocery store or order it online.

  • This recipe reheats very well and makes a great make ahead dish if planning a party menu

  • You can use normal chilli powder if you don't have Kashmiri chilli powder

  • If you can't find tomato passata generally found at most grocery stores - simply liquify/puree fresh tomatoes in your food processor until smooth

Now prepare to make the easiest, tastiest butter chicken you have ever had!


Chicken Marinade

1kg | 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into cubes

1 tablespoon lemon juice OR vinegar

1 heaped teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

2.5cm | 1 inch of ginger finely grated

½ a medium sized onion finely grated

1 cup plain yogurt (I used lactose-free but any is fine)

1 teaspoon salt


6 tablespoons ghee

2-3 large garlic cloves crushed

1 rounded tablespoon garam masala powder

½ teaspoon black cumin seeds (nigella/kalonji seeds)

½-1 teaspoon fenugreek powder

½ teaspoon sugar (optional)

½-1 teaspoon chilli Kashmiri powder

250ml tomato passata (liquefied tomatoes)

250ml tomato paste

100ml/3 rounded tablespoons thickened cream

A few drops of natural liquid smoke (optional)


Chicken Marinade

  1. In a medium glass bowl add chicken cubes, lemon juice/vinegar, chilli powder, grated ginger and onion, yogurt and salt. Cover with plastic wrap to ensure it is airtight and allow to marinate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.


  1. Take a large saucepan or wok and heat ghee over a medium-high heat.

  2. Once the ghee is hot turn heat down to medium and add the garlic, garam masala, black cumin seeds, fenugreek powder, sugar and chilli powder and give a quick stir.

  3. Add the tomato paste and tomato passata and stir through again.

  4. Add the marinated chicken and allow to cook through (this usually take about 7-10 minutes depending on how big your chicken pieces are).

  5. Add cream and stir through. If you want a thicker gravy, continue to simmer stirring regularly until you get the desired consistency.

  6. Add a few drops of liquid smoke if desired - remember less is more and add drop by drop until you get desired flavor if using.

  7. Serve with rice, naan and salad.


Tried this recipe? Tag @eatinstylebyferitta or #eatinstylebyferitta so I can see your creations and show you some love ♥

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