Friday, February 14, 2020

Murgh Makhana - Butter Chicken

Now that I have a new hip and even though still using a walker, I had to get out of my chair and do something plus I was ready to get back to my around-the-world meals - none since before Christmas and the pre-surgery crash diet started.  For this next one,  I selected India and it seems there are many traditional Indian dishes so I picked Butter Chicken using the recipe from Café Delights and after ordering what is likely a lifetime supply of Garam Masala and dried fenugreek leaves from Amazon over a month ago, I was pretty well set to go.  

Please check out Karina’s blog for some good pics of her process and her dish like this one.

I've never cooked an Indian dish before so there was no adapting of the recipe ingredients but I did change the order in the instructions by making the sauce early.  I used only mild chile pepper so this was a no-heat version and I sprinkled a little cayenne on mine.

Murgh Makhana


For the chicken marinade:
2 lb. boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup plain yogurt
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger (or finely grated)
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red chili powder (we used mild New Mex)
1 teaspoon of salt

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons ghee (or 1 tbs butter + 1 tbs oil)
1 large onion, sliced or chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced or finely grated
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
14 oz (400 g) crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon red chili powder (same as above)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kasoori methi (or dried fenugreek leaves)

1. In a bowl, combine chicken with all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade; let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour (or overnight if time allows). Larry marinated for five hours in a plastic bag.

2. Heat butter or ghee in a deep sided pan.  Fry the onions until they start to sweat (about 6 minutes) while scraping up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan.
3. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add ground coriander, cumin and garam masala. Let cook for about 20 seconds until fragrant, while stirring occasionally.
4. Add crushed tomatoes, chili powder and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and becomes a deep brown red color.
Remove from heat, scoop mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water to help it blend (up to 1/4 cup). Work in batches depending on the size of your blender. Larry used an immersion blender in the cooking pan after first adding the cream for additional liquid.
5. Pour the puréed sauce back into the pan. Stir the cream, sugar and crushed kasoori methi (or fenugreek leaves) through the sauce.  Larry made the sauce three hours early.

6. Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When sizzling, add chicken pieces in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until browned for only 3 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm. (You will finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.)

7. Add the chicken with juices to the sauce pan, stir well, and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through (160F internal temp) and the sauce is thick and bubbling. (Forgot the pic)
8. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with fresh, hot basmati rice. 

I looked around the web for typical side dishes like we might have (salad, green veggie, etc) but Indian meals are very different so we just had the chicken and rice.  My plate.

Bev thought it was okay while Cindy and I thought it was very good - a big part of the enjoyment may stem from experience with these flavors.  Now that I have a big supply of garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves, I’ll be looking for more dishes to make from this part of the world and I would appreciate your suggestions – what’s your favorite whether you make it or order it out.

Tune in next week for a likely trip to Africa.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


2/8/20 event date


  1. Larry, Very adventuresome! I do like Murgh Makhana/butter chicken but with some heat. My favorite Indian dish is something that most folks wouldn't like because its usually quite spicy hot...Lamb Vindaloo. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  2. I've been wanting to make butter chicken for-EVER. I have a couple recipes bookmarked to do so. Just in the past few months I made something with garam masala and remember it was fabulous. And now I can't find it ... or remember what it was. I'll send it along once my memory is jogged. :)


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