Your search for the best ever restaurant style butter chicken ends here as I have come up with the perfect recipe of butter chicken with that creamy, luscious, super-addictive restaurant style gravy that everyone craves for!
I am sure you have had your fair share of butter chicken so far. I am also sure you have one particular restaurant in your city which makes the best butter chicken according to you!
But why not give this recipe of butter chicken a try? This one would turn out as good, if not better, as your favorite butter chicken from your most-loved fine-diner which I can vouch for!
I am sure you might still be somewhat doubtful, but just trust me once on this! If you follow the instructions and tips & tricks, you can recreate the magical butter chicken at the comfort of your own home whenever you feel like!
What is butter chicken restaurant style?
Butter chicken is undoubtedly the most ordered dish in any Indian restaurant. It has been so popular over the years that it has become one flagship dish of Indian cuisine and I have seen international citizens raving about it too!
As you can decipher from its name, butter chicken simply means chicken cooked with butter or chicken cooked in butter. Butter makes anything taste amazing and this one is also another live example.
The creamy & luscious gravy of butter chicken is what wins people over! This tomato and cream based gravy is so addictive that you will keep reaching for more.
The succulent cubes of chicken laced with this smooth and rich gravy is a total win win! This tempting butter chicken, which is also called mugh makhni in Hindi, is best paired with butter naan or plain basmati rice.
Does Butter Chicken have nuts?
Adding nuts to butter chicken is optional according to me. If you want to enjoy more richness in your butter chicken gravy, you can add cashew nut paste to it.
Just soak about 7 to 8 cashew nuts in hot water for 30 minutes. Then grind them to make a smooth paste adding little water.
Once your butter chicken is almost ready, just before adding the fresh cream, add this cashew paste and give a good mix. Cashew paste will thicken the gravy even further; so you may want to add little water to the gravy.
Ingredients for butter chicken restaurant style
Chicken: Restaurant style butter chicken is made with boneless chicken cubes in most of the restaurants. I would recommend using boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into cubes which will turn out way more juicier than chicken breast.
Also, since chicken thighs have higher fat content than chicken breasts, the gravy will also taste better if you use chicken thighs as the fat will melt into it. But if you like chicken breast, then by all means go for it!
Butter: You will need a generous amount of butter (com’on it’s called butter chicken after all!) – once to saute the chicken and also to make the rich tomato gravy.
Oil: Add a very little amount of oil with the butter while frying the chicken and while making the tomato gravy to prevent butter from burning.
Lemon: Lemon juice will be used to marinate the chicken and also to add a kick of tanginess to the gravy.
Aromatics: No Indian dish is complete without the quintessential aromatics – ginger and garlic. For marinating chicken, you will need ginger & garlic paste and to flavor the gravy, you will need finely chopped ginger.
Onion: Unlike many other Indian chicken recipes, this butter chicken does not call for a lot of onion. Just one medium sized onion is pureed and added to the chicken marinate.
Curd/Yogurt: Curd will soften the chicken while marinating and hence a must-have ingredient for this recipe. Make sure to beat the curd until it is smooth & lump-free.
Spices: The powders spices needed to marinate the chicken and also to infuse the rich tomato gravy are the usual suspects – turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and both the chilli powders – regular red chilli powder for little heat and Kashmiri chilli powder for color.
Red tomatoes: This recipe calls for a good amount of tomato puree and since I made it fresh from scratch, I needed about 10 large ripe red tomatoes. You will have to discard the seeds and use only the flesh for vibrant red color.
Green chillies: For heat, use a few green chillies. If you want to keep your butter chicken on the milder side, you can skip this.
Kasoori methi/dry fenugreek leaves: This unique spice adds a special touch to the gravy. You just need a very small amount of it and it will do its magic.
Fresh cream: Butter chicken is known for its creamy gravy and hence you will need fresh cream – single or double cream, whichever you prefer. Double cream will impart more richness but of course will come with extra calories but this is anyways not a weight loss recipe.
Sugar: A little amount of sugar to balance the tartness of tomatoes and to add a hint of sweetness to the gravy.
Seasoning: Use salt carefully while marinating and also while making the gravy.
How to make butter chicken restaurant style?
Step 1: First we will prepare the chicken. I recommend using boneless and skinless chicken thighs to make restaurant style butter chicken where the chicken remains very juicy & tender. Cut the thigh filet into 2-inch chunks. Do not make too small pieces. Once cut and washed, take the chicken pieces in a bowl.
Step 2: Next step is to marinade the chicken. Add all the marinating ingredients into a large mixing bowl – pureed onion, ginger & garlic paste, beaten curd, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, both the red chilli powders, salt and juice of 1 lemon. Give them a good mix ensuring all the aromatics, powdered spices are mixed evenly.
Step 3: Add the chicken pieces to the prepared marinade and mix it in very well making sure each chicken piece is coated with the mixture on all sides. Cover the bowl with a cling film and let it chill in the refrigerator for preferably overnight or at least a couple of hours.
Step 4: Now we will be making the unique tomato based gravy which is the signature gravy of butter chicken. First we’ll make tomato puree from scratch. Give a cross cut at the bottom of each tomato – it will make the peeling easier once the tomatoes are soft post blanching.
Step 5: Heat enough water in a deep saucepan to hold all the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes in the water and bring them to boil. Blanch the tomatoes for 10 minutes on medium heat until the tomatoes turn soft and the outer peel starts to release.
Step 6: Take the tomatoes out from the boiling water and put them immediately into a bowl full of cold water, preferably ice water. This will stop the internal cooking of the tomatoes instantly and also retain their vibrant red color.
Step 7: Now peel the tomatoes and cut them into pieces. Discard all the seeds and reserve only the flesh. Transfer the tomato pulp to a food processor and process them until you get the fresh tomato puree without any lump.
Step 8: Heat a kadai or wok and add about 50 grams of butter and 1 teaspoon of oil. Oil will prevent the butter from burning as it has a much higher smoking point.
Step 9: When the butter melts and the foam subsides a little, add the chopped ginger and green chilies and saute for a couple of minutes on medium heat making sure they do not burn.
Step 10: Add all the spice powders – turmeric, cumin, coriander and red chilli – and a splash of water. Saute them till they are richly colored and oil starts separating from them.
Step 11: Now add the fresh tomato puree and stir well to mix with the spices. Simmer on low heat till the sauce is thick and has a rich, deep red color with the raw smell gone.
Step 12: Add sugar to balance the acidity & tartness of the tomatoes. Season with salt to taste. Simmer for a couple of minutes more and then turn off the heat and set it aside to mature.
Step 13: Now we will get back to the chicken. Take out the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature; this step is important; so make sure to have the chicken at room temperature before starting to cook.
Step 14: Heat a heavy bottomed saute pan or a pan with high sides and add a few drops of oil and the butter, about 3 to 4 tablespoons.
Step 15: Once the butter is melted, pick up one chicken piece at a time allowing the marinating liquid to drip off and add them to the pan in a single layer.
Step 16: Cook them on medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes till they have a rich caramelized crust on them and are slightly charred; then flip them over and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes more. Take them out and repeat with remaining chicken pieces as you may need to cook the chicken in batches.
Pro tip: Do not overcrowd the pan with too many chicken at a time, else they will steam in their own liquid and not sear.
Step 17: When all the chicken are cooked, return all the seared chicken pieces to the pan and fry them all together. Add sugar, lemon juice and the leftover chicken marinade. Continue to cook the chicken until the liquid is almost absorbed and butter starts to release.
Step 18: Now it’s time to combine chicken and the tomato gravy that we prepared earlier. Pour the tomato gravy into the pan with chicken and keep stirring. The liquid will deglaze the pan and lift up any sticky pan deposits which have got a lot of flavor.
Step 19: Cook on medium heat, stirring well to ensure the chicken is fully immersed and coated in the delicious gravy. If it looks too thick, add one-fourth cup of water and bring it to boil. Else simmer uncovered to reduce the gravy for a few minutes.
Step 20: Add the thick cream & crushed kasoori methi and stir through to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes more to blend well. Add a knob of butter and serve the restaurant style butter chicken with naan or tandoori roti.
Other delicious restaurant style dishes from flavor quotient
- Chicken Rezala Restaurant Style
- Chicken Kali Mirch Restaurant Style
- Mutton Rogan Josh Restaurant Style
- Chicken thigh – 1 kg, boneless & skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt – 1 tsp
- A few drops of refined oil
- Butter – 50 gms
- Sugar – ½ tsp
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
- Ginger-garlic paste – 3tsp
- Onion – 1, pureed
- Whisked curd – ½ cup
- Coriander powder – 2 tsp
- Cumin powder – 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Red hot chilli powder – 2 tsp
- Kashmiri chilli powder - ½ tsp
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Ripe red tomatoes – 10, large
- A few drops of refined oil
- Cooking butter – 50 gms (I use unsalted butter)
- Ginger – 1 inch, chopped fine
- Green chillies – 2, chopped fine
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Red hot chilli powder – 1 & ½ tsp
- Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Kasoori methi/dry fenugreek leaves – 1 tsp
- Fresh cream – 4 to 5 tsp
- To marinate the chicken, combine all the ingredients listed under marinade in a large mixing bowl and prepare an evenly mixed mixture. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix them well with the marinade so that the pieces are coated evenly on all sides. Cover with a cling film and marinate in the refrigerator for overnight or at least a couple of hours.
- While the chicken is marinating, prepare the rich tomato gravy.
- Give a criss cross cut at the bottom of each tomato and blanch them in boiling water for 10 minutes until they are soft. Then peel and deseed them and puree the flesh in a processor until they are completely lump-free.
- Heat a kadai or wok on medium heat and add both the butter and oil. Oil will prevent the butter from burning as it has a much higher smoking point.
- When the butter melts and the foam subsides a little, add the chopped ginger and green chilies and saute for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Make sure they do not burn.
- Add the spice powders listed under the tomato gravy and a splash of water. Cook them till they are richly colored and oil starts separating from them.
- Now add the fresh tomato puree and stir well to mix with the spices. Simmer on low heat till the sauce is thick and has a rich, deep red color with the raw smell gone.
- Add sugar to balance the acidity & tartness of the tomatoes. Season with salt to taste. Simmer for a couple of minutes more and then turn off the heat and set it aside to mature.
- Take the marinated chicken out from the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature.
- Heat a heavy bottomed saute pan and add a few drops of oil and the butter.
- Once the butter is melted, add a few chicken pieces (without the marinating liquid) at a time and sear them on medium heat till they have a rich caramelized crust on them and are slightly charred on both sides; it would take about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan with too many chicken at a time.
- When all the chicken are cooked, return all the seared chicken pieces to the pan and fry them all together. Add sugar, lemon juice and the leftover chicken marinade. Continue to cook them on medium heat until all the liquid is almost absorbed.
- Now add the prepared tomato gravy to the chicken and deglaze the pan to lift up the sticky pan deposits which have got a lot of flavors.
- Continue cooking on medium heat, stirring well to ensure the chicken is fully immersed and coated in the delicious gravy. Simmer uncovered to reduce & thicken the gravy.
- Add the thick cream & crushed kasoori methi and stir through to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes more to blend everything well.
- Finally add a knob of butter and enjoy this restaurant style butter chicken with naan/i]or [i]tandoori roti!