Posted by: Joan Spiller | May 12, 2012

Butter Chicken – Recipe

I am a big fan of curries, particularly Malaysian or Indian. A lovely lady I worked with in Wellington gave me the secret to so many delicious Asian dishes and I’ve posted about it before – it’s what Asian people call Curry Powder but it differs hugely from what Europeans call Curry Powder.

It’s now one of my favourite spices and I use it often when throwing together a quick vege curry. But this week I went back to a tried and trusted recipe, and made my very popular butter chicken recipe.

There’s many different ways to make this baby including coating the chicken in yoghurt and spices overnight etc but my way is the lazy way and everyone still raves so I figure why not stick with simple!

It does necessitate you having a number of spices, and that’s partly I think what stops people from making it but trust me – they’re readily used in other dishes, so it’s not going to be a “use once and waste the rest” deal, I promise!

To serve 2, you would need the following ingredients:

Oh before I go on, I make this vegetarian by substituting the chicken for a range of my favourite veges, so don’t give up in disgust if you’re a vegetarian.

3 large chicken breasts – skin removed, cut into chunks*
1 large onion – finely diced
1 clove garlic – finely chopped

1&1/2t ginger pdr
1&1/2t cinnamon
1&1/2t cumin pdr
1t chilli pdr
1/2t garam masala
2t turmeric

1/2t salt
1/2t pepper

2T tomato paste
600ml cream

Oil for frying

It’s so simple, here we go:

Mix all the spices together in a bowl, incl salt and pepper. Set aside and cook the onion and garlic in a little rice bran oil until translucent. Add the spices then cook for a few minutes, stirring often to ensure it doesn’t burn. I’d recommend a low to med heat for this job.

In a different pan, cook the chicken for a few minutes, it doesn’t have to be cooked right through as it will simmer and continue cooking in the sauce. Basically, you want to seal each piece and get a little colour on it.

Add the cooked chicken to the sauteed onions, stir in the cream and tomato paste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. And that’s it – one butter chicken curry: Done!

I find this tastes amazing if made a few hours before you want to eat it. This also freezes well and reheats beautifully in the microwave so makes great lunch grub at the office. And makes everyone very envious to boot!

Serve with your favourite rice or naan bread..

When making a vegetarian batch, I use kumara, pumpkin, carrot, brocolli and peas. I dice the veges into even sized pieces, par-cook them in a little stock then use them as instructed above in place of the chicken. I find most meat eaters enjoy having a mix of chicken and vege, so tend to combine a heaped spoonful of both as I serve theirs.

Garnish with parsley and flaked almonds if you want or just scoff as soon as it’s ready!

*I opt for 1 inch squares but you could do bigger if you want, not much smaller or they get lost in the sauce..



  1. Yummy, yummy! I have been looking for a recipe for butter chicken and yours looks perfect.


    • It is SO simple you will just be gob smacked!! Once you get past the whole “mix all these spices” thing, you basically chuck some spice on some bird and fry it!!!


      • Sounds wonderful. I wish I had some right now!


      • Me too, butter chicken (or veges, in my case) is an all time fave of mine! (And my daughter) Funny to think I was in my 30’s before I’d eaten it .. gosh!


      • I have some foods like that. I just had white asparagus for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I remember thinking, “Where have you been all my life?!”


  2. Will try this. We visited New Zealand a couple years ago and ate butter chicken three times at the same restaurant in Wellington, loved it so much. (of course, I don’t remember the same of the place) Came home and tried to replicate it without much luck.


    • Oh very cool. Where did you visit us from? Can you source those spices easily? If not I could post you some. THAT would confuse the sniffer dogs I bet lol


  3. Made this tonight … So good! Brad loved it, most impressed. Made a combo of chicken and veggies 🙂


    • Oh COOL. Yeah I always do a combo too, or if no meat eaters, just the vege one. It freezes well too, so makes a great lunch. Do you remember that curry we “spiked” for Brad that time in Puk Bay? LOL


  4. I can’t eat onion or garlic. What could I use in ths recipe so that I still tastes good?


    • I would think omitting them would be ok, there are so many other flavours going on it shouldn’t matter – let me know how you get on k!


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