So you may have figured out by now that I love classic Pakistani food. I can cook biryani and nihari like a pro. But let’s be real: I make those once in a while cuz mama ain’t got time for a complicated recipe.
This easy creamy butter chicken recipe is one of my go to recipes for easy weeknight meals, because in reality 20 minutes is all I have most of the time to cook dinner.
This Butter Chicken is a quintessential creamy, delicious comfort curry that pairs well with rice or naan. This version is extra creamy and nutty and will leave you literally licking your fingers. Trust me.Jump to Recipe
Here is a little back story about this creamy and easy butter chicken recipe..
I had a friend in high school who would bring the most decadent paneer curry from home. Her mom had a catering business and whenever she would get a catering order, it almost always included an order for her Shahi Paneer. That is how it good it was.
Then one day, she cooked a chicken version of the paneer and I had the honour of tasting it at our high school cafeteria lunch table. Oh those days of waiting by the communal microwave line if you had brought a lunch from home like we did.
My life was changed after I tasted that butter chicken. It was the creamiest, nuttiest, tangiest curry ever. I begged and begged her mom to teach me and then one day about 10 years later, she shared her recipe with me. Now that recipe and this recipe are very different as hers had some other ingredients that I have now forgotten. But I took that recipe she shared with me and worked to make it my own. I tested and experimented to the point that my family got sick of eating butter chicken.
And here we are, many years later with literally the easiest and creamiest butter chicken recipe which is perfect for a cozy night in at home during the cold winter months.
Even my mother-in-law, who is an incredible cook, raves about this recipe. So take that for what you will, and make sure you give this recipe a try.
A note about the masala used in this recipe:
I know the tandoor masala I use is not available everywhere. I have now tried this recipe with Shan and National brand’s butter chicken masala and it turns out VERY similar. So if you are unable to find tandoori masala, butter chicken masala is your next very close bet.
A note about what to serve the butter chicken with:
This recipe tastes incredible both with steamed basmati rice and/or a delicious naan heated with some garlic and butter. I also love slopping this up with a good old chapati.
A note about my favourite pot to cook this recipe in:
It is no secret I am obsessed with my Le Creuset pots. I find this recipe legitimately tastes BETTER in a heavy bottomed cast iron dutch oven. I have tried it in a wok, a stainless steel pot, a non stick pot and lastly my cast iron dutch oven. Hands down, the dutch oven cooks and browns the cashews better without burning and gives you the depth of flavour that cast iron pots are known for. If you don’t have one, I would recommend browning the cashews on a very low heat to prevent them from tasting burnt. Here is a more inexpensive option for a dutch oven if you are looking for one!
Easy 20 Minute Butter ChickenCourse: MainCuisine: pakistani, indianDifficulty: Easy
Butter Chicken – a quintessential creamy, delicious comfort curry that pairs well with rice or naan. This version is extra creamy and nutty and will leave you literally licking your fingers. Trust me.
3 chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 cup unsalted unroasted cashews – ground
3/4 cup strained tomatoes/tomato paste
4 tablespoons Tandoori Masala (I use one by a brand called Suraj)
1/2 cup table cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
Additional salt and red chilli powder /cayenne pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves or Kasuri Methi
- Marinate chicken in the masala and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pan
- Once melted, add in the ground cashews and saute until fragrant. This step requires your full attention as the cashews can burn fast!
- As soon as the cashews are fragrant, add in the marinated chicken and mix and continue to mix until chicken changes color. This takes 1-2 minutes.
- Next add in the strained tomatoes, and give the pot a good stir. Add in the cream, and let the mixture cook for 1 minute. Next add in the milk – you can adjust this depending on what you would like the consistency of the gravy to be.
- Bring the pot to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Let the curry simmer for 10-12 minutes on low
- Next, add dried fenugreek leaves that you have activated by rubbing together in the palms of your hand.
- Serve with a side of basmati rice or naan.