Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Anjali Venugopal June 14, 2020 NO COMMENTS

I had my first ever Butter Chicken at Moti Mahal (Punjabi Bagh), Delhi. And for this reason, my Butter Chicken standards are very, VERY high. I dislike half ass butter chickens just as much as I love a beautifully made one. I have been trying to perfect my recipe for a couple of years now and I think I am finally ready to share a recipe. Okay, in all honesty, I still wouldn’t say this is the best I have had BUT it’s getting pretty damn close. If you’d like to give it a shot, here goes.

This recipe is not easy and is split into two – the grilled chicken/chicken tikka and the Butter Chicken sauce. For most of us who don’t have a tandoor at arm’s reach this is the most we can do. But a properly made grilled chicken, with the right spices is one of the base points of this recipe so, try not to cut corners.

Also! This recipe works well for a Paneer Butter Masala too 🙂 Marinate the paneer with the marinade for chicken tikka and grill it before adding to the sauce. Works well without grilling too. You can add the paneer as it is.

Chicken Tikka in oven

Things you will need:

  • Boneless chicken- 500 grams cut into bite sized pieces
  • Skewers


  • Greek yoghurt- 3 tablespoons
  • Garam Masala- 2 teaspoons
  • Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder- 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric Powder- ½ teaspoon
  • Ginger garlic paste made with 1 inch stick of ginger and 4-5 cloves of garlic or storebought ginger garlic paste- 1 ½ teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Kasuri Methi- 1 teaspoon
  • Cooking oil- 2 tablespoons

How to go about it

  1. Make a marinade with all the ingredients listed under “Marinade.”
  2. Marinate the chicken pieces thoroughly with the marinade and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour. Overnight tops.
  3. When ready to prepare the chicken tikka, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a tray with baking paper or aluminium foil. Thread the marinated pieces of chicken on the skewers without overcrowding them. Place the skewers on the tray. Even better if you can balance the skewers on the parallel edges so that the pieces do not touch the bottom of the tray.
  4. Bake the chicken in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the edges char lightly. In case you can’t balance the skewers on the edges, take the tray out at half time and turn the pieces around so that the sides which was touching the base of the tray is now on the top.
  5. Once done, keep the chicken tikka aside while we prepare the sauce.

Butter Chicken Sauce

Things you will need:

  • Unsalted butter- 50 grams or 2 two inch cubes. More if you like. Keep the butter divided into three parts. Salted butter works too but you’ll need to keep an eye on the salt you add later.
  • Onion – 1 medium sized or half of a large one, finely chopped
  • Green cardamom pods- 3
  • Bayleaf – 2
  • Tomatoes- 4 large or 5 medium sized, roughly chopped
  • Cashews- 10
  • Ginger garlic paste made with 1 inch stick of ginger and 4-5 cloves of garlic or storebought ginger garlic paste- 1 ½ teaspoon
  • Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder- ½ tablespoon
  • Water- 1 cup
  • Garam Masala- ½ teaspoon
  • Whole cream- ¼ cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar- 2 teaspoons
  • Kasuri Methi- 1 ½ teaspoon
  • A mixer grinder or immersion blender

How to go about it

  1. In a large pan/wok, heat one part of the butter kept aside. Medium heat. Once the butter melts (and before it browns), add the cardamom pods and bay leaf. Fry for 15-20 seconds or until the flavour releases into the fat. Next, add the finely chopped onions. Saute until they turn translucent. Add a tiny bit of salt to speed up the process. Once the onions are translucent, add the ginger garlic paste. Saute for 30 seconds or until the raw smell goes away.
  2. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and Kashmiri red chilli powder. Saute everything for 20-30 seconds. Add the cashews and 1 cup water, mix it all up and cover the pan. Let it cook on medium to low heat for 15 minutes. Stir it all up once in between to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once that is done, take the pan off the heat and fish out the bay leaf.
  4. Now is the tricky part. If you are using an immersion blender, transfer the (hot) contents into the blender jar and grind into a smooth paste. However, if you are using a regular mixer grinder, you will need to wait for the mixture to cool down before you grind it all. Please, PLEASE do not attempt to grind it while it is piping hot. I have done it once and I won’t repeat it again. Once reasonably cool, grind the mixture into a smooth paste.
  5. Next, you need to strain the now smooth paste. Strain it into another bowl, using a spoon to keep stirring to make sure you get the maximum out of the paste. Discard what remains in the strainer. Keep the smooth, velvety sauce aside.
  6. Place a (clean) pan on medium heat and add the second part of butter. Once the butter melts, pour in the sauce. Mix well for 10-15 seconds. Now, you may add the salt and the sugar. Add in parts. Getting the right sugar salt balance is the ultimate key for a good Butter Chicken. Keep doing a taste test every now and then till you get it right. The should not be overtly sweet but it should have that light sweetness. Salt to balance the sweetness.
  7. Add the garam masala. Mix well.
  8. Next, add the cream, and keep mixing until the sauce begins to boil lightly. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the third part of butter and crushed kasuri methi. Mix well.
  9. Now add your chicken tikka to the beautiful sauce. Mix well. Allow everything to cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes.
  10. Take off the stove, give a quick swirl of cream to garnish and serve hot with Naans or Rotis.
Butter Chicken Pasta

Butter Chicken Pasta

Anjali Venugopal June 10, 2017 NO COMMENTS


Walking up and down a couple of unfamiliar streets in Vienna with the sun on my nose and the wind in my hair, in search of that perfect corner in that perfect café, I realized that I still have so much left to see in this city. Every nook beholds something new, something fascinating, something that has a story to tell. Be it that old record store run by that old bloke with white, wispy shoulder length hair, wearing a pair of ragged, old jeans (which seemed to have stories and dirt from the 1960s buried in its back pockets) and a black vest with arm holes so huge that the piece of cloth was barely serving its purpose; or that run down, forlorn looking piano repair outfit; or that swanky café by the sidewalk which had a few good looking blonde women sitting at wooden tables, sipping on wine, staining the rims of their glasses with pretty shades of expensive lipstick.

I doubt if I have ever felt at home as much I do here, in Vienna. Of course, there is no disputing the fact that I miss my home and everything it stands for; the people I call my own; all the memories I have gathered whilst I spent my life in Trivandrum. But there is something in this city that makes me comfortable; at ease, at peace with my own being. The quaintness of this city somehow gives me the confidence from within to live life on my own terms; without as much as giving a fleeting thought about the expectations or the results I am obliged to fulfil; no one keeping track of the number of beers I can chug and ones I cannot; doing what I love the most, not worrying (too much) about daunting terms such as finance, security, legal career etc. I cannot help but admit that this feels new as much as it feels good. Until maybe last year, I always felt that my personal space was something so permeable which means I felt that I was constantly being monitored, being judged, my wins and falls being counted uncompromisingly. But now, a lot seems to have changed. For the first time, I have come to learn where my real passion stands with a stone foundation, ready to weather all the typhoons and the rain that may.

I finally seem to have found that perfect nook for myself in this city. Something tells me that you are going to be hearing a lot of my musings; sitting by this window next to a huge indoor plant with uncannily dark, succulent leaves, in the back end of the café (that is supposedly rather famous for its brunches, a quick scan of the place on the internet tells me) that is so tastefully done in shades of pale green accompanied by light wooden furniture. This could also mean that you are going to be bombarded with blog posts in the coming days. Just kidding, remember I have not quit law altogether. Yet.

Anyway, today I share with you the recipe to something I came up with on one (not so) fine day, buried under hundreds of exhibits for a hearing scheduled for the coming week. Butter Chicken Pasta. This is my first shot at fusion cuisine and I must say that I was pretty kicked about the results. This is penne in the thick, creamy gravy of the eternal favourite and second in line for the flag bearer status for Indian food (after Biryani, duh!), Butter Chicken. As always, this recipe of mine does not need anything more than a few ingredients within your arms reach and then, believe me, the end result is going to be totally worth it. So, here goes.

Things you will need: (Serves 2-3)

For the Butter Chicken

  • Chicken- 250 grams (boneless)
  • Tomatoes- 2 large or 3 medium pureed
  • Garam masala powder- 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 tsp (as per heat tolerance, but not more than 1 tsp)
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • Cashews- 10-12
  • Yoghurt
  • Lime juice- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric- 1 tsp
  • Cooking oil
  • Freshly chopped coriander- to garnish (optional)

For the Pasta

  • Penne- 1 cup


How to go about it:


  1. Boil water in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Once boiling, add the penne to the water and let it cook for 11-12 minutes. After that, drain the water thoroughly using a colander preferably and keep aside.


Butter Chicken

  1. Cut the boneless chicken into small pieces and keep aside. Next, marinate the chicken in two table spoons of yoghurt, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, lime juice or vinegar, quarter teaspoon of garam masala, salt and a bit of turmeric. Let it sit for half an hour.
  2. In the meanwhile, soak the cashews in 2 tbsps of water for about 15 minutes and then proceed to make a paste out of them.
  3. Next, grill the chicken till it is nice and tender and maybe a little charred. If you do not have the option of grilling, you may shallow fry the chicken instead. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it and keep it aside while you prepare the gravy for the butter chicken.
  4. Place a wok on the stove and heat some cooking oil in it. Add 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste to the oil and fry it till the oil is fragrant. Next, add the pureed tomatoes with the salt and sauté for about five minutes. Add the chilli powder, 1 teaspoon and a half of garam masala powder and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and keep sautéing till the oil starts to leave the sides and the water content in the tomatoes has minimized.
  5. At this point, add the cashew paste to the wok and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add one glass of water to the wok and using a whisk, mix the gravy to make it homogeneous. Keep the wok closed for three minutes to help cook the cashews.
  7. Next add the shredded pieces of chicken to the gravy, mix thoroughly. Your butter chicken is ready!

After both the pasta as well as the gravy is done, add the cooked penne to the hot gravy, mix thoroughly but carefully so as to not mash it all up. Garnish with some freshly chopped coriander leaves and your spectacular Indo Italian fusion dish is now ready to be devoured. 🙂