Easy Indian Butter Chicken

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Dinner, Main Course Indian
By Kelly Djalali Adapted from Simply Recipes Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cooking Time: 40 Minutes Total Time: ~1 Hour

Better-than-restaurant Easy Indian Butter Chicken is simple to make and I have omitted the cream, using cashews to make a creamy, rich sauce.


  • Marinade and Chicken
  • 6-8 Garlic Cloves
  • 2-3-inch Piece of Fresh Ginger
  • 1/4 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1.5-2 lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Butter Chicken Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Raw Cashews
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 15-oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. Whole Coriander Seeds
  • 1.5 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 1 tbsp. Kasuri Methi


Marinade and Chicken


Use a rasp grater to grate 6-8 cloves of garlic and a 2-3-inch piece of fresh ginger into a small bowl. Then, fully mix the grated ginger and garlic together to form a paste.


Combine the cubed chicken, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the ginger garlic paste and the spices; 1 teaspoon each: ground coriander, paprika, cumin, kosher salt. Use your hands to massage and coat the chicken with the marinade. Cover and let sit at room temp for an hour, or refrigerate overnight.


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat a tablespoon of grapeseed oil. When it's shimmering, add the chicken to the skillet. Spread it out into a single layer and let the chicken cook undisturbed for about 3-4 minutes. We want to get some good color on the chicken pieces. Go in with a spatula and flip the chicken pieces over. Let cook on the other side for another 3 minutes or so. When the chicken is golden and cooked through, transfer to a plate or sheet tray, tent with foil and set aside.

Butter Chicken Sauce


Soak 1/3 cup of raw cashews in just enough boiling water to cover the cashews. Set that aside. Let the cashews soak for at least 10 minutes.


In a separate, or cleaned pan, over medium-low heat, melt 1.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter. When the butter is melted add 1 tablespoon of the ginger garlic paste, stir and sauté until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Don't let it brown. Then add the sugar. Stir and sauté for one more minute.


Stir in the can of diced tomatoes, juice and all. Increase the heat to medium-high; stir occasionally and cook until most of the liquid is cooked off. Then add the spices: coriander seeds, garam masala, paprika and kosher salt. Stir the spices into the tomatoes and continue cooking until all the liquid is cooked off. Then cut the heat.


Transfer the chunky tomato mixture to a blender. Drain the cashews and add them to the blender. Blend the mixture to a smooth sauce.


Pour the thick sauce back into the pan we used to cook the tomatoes. Pour 1.5 cups of water into the blender and blend the water with the sauce that stuck to the sides of the blender (basically cleaning out the blender with the water). Then pour that watery mixture into the pan with the thick sauce.


Turn the heat up to medium and stir the watery sauce into the thicker sauce until emulsified. Bring the sauce up to a light simmer.


Once the sauce is lightly bubbling, add the cooked chicken to the sauce. Stir the chicken pieces into the sauce and cover the pan. Let the sauce and chicken simmer for 5-7 minutes.


After simmering covered for 5-7 minutes, uncover the Butter Chicken and cut the heat. Stir in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter and the Kasuri Methi. Re-cover the pan and let the Easy Indian Butter Chicken sit for 10 minutes.


After the Butter chicken has rested with the Kasuri Methi for 10 minutes, we are ready to serve. Serve with Basmati rice, naan (or roti, chapati, or paratha), plain yogurt and your favorite chutneys.