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Murgh Makhani (Buttery Chicken Curry)

Jump To Recipe Print Murgh Makhani

When one of the diners goes for a third helping you know you have a winner on your hands. I used the substitutions I noted in the ingredients list but I did go out and buy "the real thing"


I served this with long grain basmati rice that I cooked in chicken broth. It's exactly like the description in the cookbook except it wasn't as spicy as I expected it to be. But yes, it's "spicy, sweet and tangy with the fragrance of butter and herbs". One I'll make again, many times again. 

One of the ingredients in the recipe is Kashmiri red chili powder. After some research, I found that the Kashmiri is a mild heat chili bred more for color than heat, it runs 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat unit, comparable to a poblano chili. While I was looking for the Kashmiri I ran across a bag of Degi Mirch chili powder which is a blend of red bell peppers and Kashmiri chilis and is supposed to have a higher heat level then Kashmiri chili powder so of course, I had to get that also.
O.K. chili school is our for now, on to the recipe. 

Note from Cookbook;
This is a very popular north Indian restaurant dish. The original recipe was created by the Moti Mahal restaurant in New Delhi and it is still a top-seller. Marinated chicken is usually cooked in the tandoor, then folded into a buttery or ‘makhani’ sauce.
Use a mixture of oil and butter so that the butter does not burn when heated. You can use paneer instead of chicken for a vegetarian version. The sauce should be spicy, sweet and tangy, with the fragrance of butter and herbs.

Murgh Makhani (Buttery Chicken Curry)


  • Serves 4 PREPARATION → 20 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time or overnight if possible
    COOKING 30 minutes

    800g skinless chicken breast, cut into 2.5cm cubes
    boiled rice or Laccha Paratha, to serve
    For the marinade
    50g natural yogurt
    1 teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder
    or mix 3 parts paprika with 1 part cayenne pepper and use equal amount of the mix
    1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon garam masala salt

    For the makhani sauce
    2 tablespoons salted butter
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi), plus extra to serve;
    or substitute with equal amount of honey Dijon mustard
    1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
    150g tomato purée
    1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder;
    or mix 3 parts paprika with 1 part cayenne pepper and use equal amount of the mix
    The rest of the mixture is great on potatoes.
    1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    2 tablespoons honey
    100ml single cream, plus extra to serve


  1. 1 *Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the cubed chicken. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least for 1 hour or overnight if possible.
    2 Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Transfer the chicken and marinade to an ovenproof dish and bake for 10–15 minutes until tender and cooked through.
    3 For the makhani sauce, heat the butter and oil in a saucepan over a high heat and add the kasoori methi and green chilli. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste, cook for a minute or so, then add the tomato purée and stir to blend for a couple of minutes.
    4 Mix in the chilli powder, garam masala and honey, and season with salt. Finish with the cream, then add enough water to give the sauce a pouring consistency.
    5 Add the cooked chicken to the sauce. Serve with rice or laccha paratha, with a swirl of single cream and a sprinkling of kasoori methi.

    *Or skip this step and use pre-cooked chicken and re-heat in the finished sauce. 

    Bharadwaj, Monisha. Indian Cookery Course

And that's that!