Simplified Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Simplified Chicken Makhani
Simplified Chicken Makhani

I am definitely not an expert at cooking Indian food, but I definitely do like to eat it!  And Chicken Makhani is one of my favorite dishes when I’m eating at an Indian restaurant.

I have been trying to come up with a recipe that comes close to the traditional Indian taste without as much effort and time as the traditional recipe…this version comes pretty close in my books.

It is a little more work than most of my recipes, but it tastes so good that it is worth it! And just think…this is the simplified version. Imagine what it takes to cook the regular version!

Simplified Chicken Makhani
Simplified Chicken Makhani

Ingredients

Here is your shopping list for my simplified chicken Makhani recipe

  • Lemon
  • Dried Spices – Chili powder, salt, dried fenugreek leaves*, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper
  • Fresh Spices – garlic, ginger root
  • Pastes – garlic paste, ginger paste
  • Dairy – yogurt, whipping cream, half and half, butter
  • Onion
  • Tomato paste

Utensils and Supplies

Here are the utensils and supplies you will need to make this recipe:

  • 2 Mixing Bowls
  • Sauce Pan
  • (optional) Blender or Food Processor

How To Make Simplified Chicken Makhani

The first step to making simplified Chicken Makhani is to cut the chicken into cubes.

You’ll want them all to be about the same size. I like them to be about 1 inch squares.

Chicken Marinade Step 1
Chicken Marinade Step 1

Marinate The Chicken

There are actually a couple of marination steps in this recipe.

For the first round, combine the cubed chicken with the lemon juice, chili powder and salt in a bowl.

Let it sit, covered but not refrigerated, for about 20 minutes.

Chicken Marinade Step 2
Chicken Marinade Step 2

For the second marinade, combine yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, dried fenugreek leaves, turmeric and garam masala in a small bowl.

Add this mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. While you can get away with shorter marinating times (I’ve done as little as 2 hours), the longer you leave it, the more flavor the chicken will have.

Brown The Chicken

Melt butter over medium heat in a sauce pan.

Add the chicken to the sauce pan, discarding the extra marinade.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. About 5 minutes.

Remove the chicken and set aside

Make The Sauce

Melt more butter in the sauce pan.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until the onions are soft and look translucent.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients. You can add more or less cayenne pepper depending on how spicy you want your dish to be.

Let simmer for a few minutes.

Add the chicken back into the sauce.

Cook until the chicken is heated all the way through, another 5 to 10 minutes.

You can turn the temperature down and let it simmer for a while longer if you want even more flavor to soak into the chicken.

Serve with rice.

This is definitely one of those dishes that tastes even better after if has been stored over night in the refrigerator, so don’t be afraid to save some left overs!

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Simplified Chicken Makhani

Simplified Chicken Makhani

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 servings
Chicken Makhani is one of my favorite dishes when I'm eating at an Indian restaurant.  I have been trying to come up with a recipe that comes close to the traditional Indian taste without as much effort and time as the traditional recipe...this version comes pretty close in my books. It is a little more work than most of recipes, but it tastes so good that it is worth it!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken

Initial Marinade:

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon  chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt

Second marinade:

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

The Sauce:

  • 4 Tablespoons  butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 8- ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon  Garam Masala
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon  dried Fenugreek leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper add more if you like more heat
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Instructions

  • Chop the chicken into 1 inch cubes.

Chicken Marinade Step 1

  • Mix the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon chili power and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the chicken and toss to coat.
  • Cover and marinate for 20 minutes.

Chicken Marinade Step 2

  • In the meantime, mix together all of the ingredients for the second marinade.
  • After the 20 minutes is up, add the second marinade to the bowl with the chicken and mix well.
  • Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Brown The Chicken

  • Melt 2 Tablespoons of the the butter over medium heat in the sauce pan.
  • Add the chicken (without the excess marinade) to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.  You can also bake or grill the chicken on skewers if you prefer that to cooking it on the stove.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Make The Sauce

  • Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter in the pan.
  • Add the onion, garlic and ginger.
  • Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and let simmer for a few minutes.
  • If you want a smooth, creamy consistency like you get in a restaurant, you can put the sauce in a blender or food processor at this point, and then put it back in the pot.  (I don't usually bother...too much work for not much difference in the final product).
  • Add the chicken back into the pot and cook until heated all the way through, another 5 - 10 minutes.
  • You can reduce the heat at this point and let it simmer for a while longer (which will cause the flavors to mix better), or serve it right away if the smell is really making you hungry (it will still taste great!)

Notes

You can adjust the spiciness of the recipe by increasing or decreasing the amount of cayenne pepper and chili powder...when in doubt, start with less and add more (there's no going back once you've made it spicier than you want it).
This is definitely one of those dishes that tastes even better after if has been stored overnight in the refrigerator, so don't be afraid to save some leftovers!
Tried this recipe?Mention @EntertainingDiva or tag #entertainingdiva!

Simplified Chicken Makhani

 

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