Restaurant Style Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Restaurant Style Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Here’s another Indian recipe for ya’ll that I made along with the carrot pudding over the weekend. I’ve already got one version of butter chicken on the site but I experimented with a new recipe over the weekend and it turned out so amazing! Indian food can be a bit complicated, mostly because it includes a bazillion spices! But let me tell you, it’s so worth it! Every spice plays a part and I think Indian food is some of the most flavorful food on the planet. I’ve got an Indian restaurant down the road from my house that makes the BEST butter chicken, only they call it Murgh Makhani and it starts with a base of tandoori chicken. Now, I didn’t create the recipe I used for my tandoori chicken. You can find that recipe HERE from Simply Recipes. I just put that recipe together one night, shredded the leftovers and created the butter sauce the following day. 

You absolutely do not have to make tandoori chicken if you don’t have the time. Just take some chicken tenders, sprinkle them with some curry and lime and grill them quickly. If you don’t do the tandoori first, this dish comes together in under an hour! However, if you have the time, making the tandoori chicken first gives a depth of flavor that is missing when you just grill chicken beforehand. Or even if you simmer boneless chicken in the sauce itself like I do with my other butter chicken recipe. This dish pairs oh so great with my naan bread (find that recipe HERE) and it’s all gluten, grain, and dairy free! Doesn’t get much better than that, right? You can even freeze this sauce recipe for future use. And freezer meals are the best, especially on those busy midweek nights. 

This recipe is much richer and slightly less creamy than my other butter chicken recipe. It has more tomato in it and swaps the coconut milk for yogurt (I used Kite Hill’s plain almond yogurt to keep it dairy free. And because I love Kite Hill with every fiber of my being!). It also calls for grilled chicken, which I mentioned above, and slightly different spices. It really does taste different, even though it looks pretty similar. I have to say, it’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve created in a long time!


Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
Serves 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
  1. 2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, prepared tandoori style and shredded
  2. 1 T olive oil
  3. 1 large onion, diced
  4. 2 T minced garlic
  5. 3 T ghee, grass-fed butter, or dairy-free butter substitute (such as Earth Balance)
  6. 3 cardamom pods
  7. 1 tsp cinnamon
  8. 1 T grated fresh ginger
  9. 1 T coriander powder
  10. 1 T cumin
  11. 1/2 tsp chili powder
  12. 1/2 tsp garam masala
  13. 4 T tomato paste
  14. 2 C water
  15. 1/2 cup yogurt (I used Kite Hill's)
  16. Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic to preheated skillet and saute for 10 minutes or until onions are cooked through and translucent.
  3. Add cinnamon and ginger to pan and fry for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Add the rest of the spices along with 2 cups of water and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
  5. Add chicken to sauce and simmer for 30 minutes until cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. Add yogurt at the last minutes and stir to combine.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and lime. Serve hot.
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