Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken Curry)

Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken Curry)

This is a very delicious curry with butter and cashew nuts that tastes just like the kind you find in India. The tastiness of this dish will please all palates, including your kids'. Refer to the note below for a vegetarian version.

Ingredients: 3 servings

400 g
Substitute with paneer for a vegetarian version. This will turn into another great dish called "Paneer Makhani" (Recipe ID: 892420).
For the curry
Vegetable oil
1 teaspoon
☆ Cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon
☆ Whole cardamon
3 or 2/3
☆ Black pepper
5 grains
☆ Clove
3 or 1/2 teaspoon
☆ Bay leaf
☆ Cayenne pepper (*only if you like it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon
1 tablespoon
1 clove
Canned tomatoes
500 g to 600 g
Cashew nuts (or almonds)
50 g
△ Sugar
1 teaspoon
△ Salt
1 to 2 teaspoons
△ Garam masala
1 teaspoon
Butter (optional)
30 g
Heavy cream
50 ml


1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and rinse with water. Drain well, and massage well with an appropriate amount of salt and pepper. Mince the ginger and garlic.
2. Crush the cashew nuts into fine powder. Using a food processor is convenient. If not, you can put them in a plastic bag and crush well with a hammer.
3. Once crushed, gradually mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons of water (not listed in ingredients) to create a paste.
4. Heat the frying pan and cook the chicken from Step 1. Set aside once cooked.
5. In the same frying pan, add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and heat over medium heat.
6. Add the ☆ spices and mix well with oil. Add the ginger and garlic. Be careful not to let the spices burn!
7. Add canned tomatoes, or minced tomatoes. Mix well with the spices. Stir well for about 5 minutes.
8. Add 100 ml of water (not listed) and bring to a boil.
9. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning. Remove the lid during the last 5 minutes and continue simmering.
10. Add the cashew nuts paste (from Step 3), sugar, salt, and garam masala (optional) marked with △. Stir for about 3 minutes over low heat.
11. Add the butter and let it melt in the pan while stirring. This step is optional since the curry will still be delicious with the flavor from cashew nuts.
12. Once the butter is melted and well incorporated, add the chicken and mix.
13. Add the heavy cream and mix until well incorporated.
14. It's done after about 2 to 3 minutes of simmering. Remove the clove, cardamon, and bay leaf before serving.
15. Garnish with cashew nuts, heavy cream, coriander leaves, etc. if you'd like.
16. Everything tastes amazing with just the steps described so far. If you'd like to go a step further to make tandoori style chicken, add the following steps to Step 1.
17. Mix together 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of chili pepper, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, and 2 tablespoons of yogurt.
18. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for more than 3 hours. Then, grill in a 180℃ oven for 15 to 20 minutes and add at Step 12.

Story Behind this Recipe

I received a request for this curry's recipe, but it's a curry usually served at restaurants (i.e. not a home-cooked dish), so I tried to make it based on my past experiences eating it, and some research I did with books and the Internet. Aiming for these 3 things: 1. not covered with oil, 2. as healthy as possible, 3. a satisfying taste, I managed to create this dish after some experimenting with spices, etc. I don't mean to brag, but it's fantastic.