Easy Butter Chicken

Easy Butter Chicken - A Cookbook Collection

Happy 2021! It’s been quite the year already, hasn’t it?

These photos show why I usually post breakfast recipes at this time of year as the late afternoon light is dreadful for pictures. To be honest, I probably should have held off posting this Easy Butter Chicken until I had better photos, but I have been enjoying making this so much that I didn’t want to wait. The fact my first post this year is for a creamy curry full of dairy should tell you exactly how I feel about January diets!

I have a bit of a strange history with Butter Chicken because I associated it with the blander curries like korma, which don’t really appeal to me. Well, I was completely wrong. It is a delicious curry with a rich tomato sauce which is thickened with yoghurt, cashew butter and cream. When I first made it I used Rick Stein’s recipe from his book India which, of course was delicious. However it was a labour of love with two marinades, grilling the chicken and blending cashew nuts. Then for the last few months it seemed like everyone I follow online was making Butter Chicken, so I decided to revisit it. My Easy Chicken Satay Curry was the most popular recipe on my bog last year so I thought I would approach this the same way. Because we are all looking for easy tasty meals now, right?

I’m so glad I did, because this Easy Butter Chicken is delicious and it has been on repeat in my kitchen. It is rich so you could add some vegetables to cut through the creaminess. As per Jamie Oliver’s Butter Chicken video, I leave the chicken breasts whole to cook them, which allows them to char without drying out.

Useful tips & links:

  • Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off, most of the spices are basics that you will already have if you like to cook curries. I can get all of them in my local Tesco apart from the Kashmiri chilli and ground cardamom. I usually buy these in an Asian market in the city or online now during lockdown.
  • Kashmiri chilli is a vibrant red powder and it is milder than regular chilli powder. If you cannot get it, use half regular chilli powder and half sweet paprika instead.
  • If you cannot get ground cardamom, you can use whole pods which are more widely available. Have a look on FoodSubs to see how to substitute them.
  • While the chicken benefits from marinating overnight, if you don’t have time a few hours will do. Even just 30 minutes at room temperature will add flavour to the meat.
  • I find this quite rich so I don’t use as much cream as many of the recipes I have seen but feel free to add more if you like it.
  • Using tomato passata means that the sauce has a lovely smooth texture. Alternatively you can use chopped tomatoes and then blitz the sauce in a blender before adding the chicken back in.
  • This recipe can be adapted to be vegetarian by any veg such as butternut squash or even paneer cheese instead of chicken.
  • For an authentic recipe have a look at Maunika Gowardhan’s Murgh Makhani which is absolutely delicious.
  • I make a curry at least once a week and try to keep it varied. You can find my other curry recipes here.
  • If you have time and would like a slow cooked curry, this Beef Rendang is a personal favourite.

Easy Butter Chicken - A Cookbook Collection

Easy Butter Chicken

Serves 4


For the marinade

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 100g of natural yoghurt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 5cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of Kashmiri chilli
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • Salt and pepper

For the curry

  • Sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5cm piece of ginger grated
  • ¼ teaspoon of allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • A heaped tablespoon of cashew butter
  • 400ml of tomato passata
  • 1 tablespoon of mango chutney
  • 1 teaspoon of dried fenugreek leaves
  • 75ml of double cream
  • 1 teaspoon of Kashmiri chilli
  • ½ teaspoon of garam masala


  • Slash the thickest part of the chicken breasts to allow the marinade to cover more of the meat and this also helps them to cook evenly. Just make sure not to cut the whole way through the breast.
  • Mix all of the rest of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, add the chicken and coat it completely in the marinade. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge until ready to cook.
  • Heat a little oil in a wide heavy pan over a medium high heat. Take the chicken out of the marinade, set the marinade aside and fry the chicken for a few mins on both sides until browned and slightly charred. This char will give the chicken a gorgeous flavour. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Do not clean the pan, if there are some very burnt pieces take them out but otherwise a little charred marinade will add a depth of flavour to the sauce.
  • Turn the heat down a bit, slice the onion and add it to the pan, frying gently until it starts to soften.
  • When the onion is soft add the extra ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cardamom and cumin and cook gently until the spices are fragrant.
  • Add the cashew butter and a splash of water to loosen it and mix with the onions and spices.
  • Add the passata, mango chutney and fenugreek leaves and mix well.
  • Use a spatula to scrape in the rest of the marinade from the bowl and mix it through the sauce. Bring it up to a boil for a few minutes to kill any bacteria that may remain in the marinade from the raw chicken, while stirring all the time.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.
  • Add in the cream and stir through. Add the Kashmiri chilli and garam masala to taste, a little at a time if you are anxious about the heat.
  • Cut the chicken into pieces, I like to keep them big to prevent overcooking, and add it back into the sauce to gently heat through.
  • Serve with steamed rice and naan bread is great to mop up the sauce. Garnish with a little more cream and chopped fresh coriander on top.

Easy Butter Chicken - A Cookbook Collection

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