Murgh Makhani
Indian Butter Chicken

This dish dates back to the 1950s, when leftover tandoori chicken was given a new life with the addition of butter, cream and tomatoes. Its popularity has grown tremendously over the years, and it’s ready to make its debut in your kitchen—whether you’re cooking for family or friends, this soft, creamy dish is pure bliss on a plate.

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 1  recipe  tandoori chicken
 2  14.5-ounce cans  tomatoes
 1  teaspoon  crushed garlic*
 1  teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated*
 3  whole  green cardamom pods
 2  shards  mace arils**
 1/2  teaspoon  cayenne pepper***
 3/4  teaspoon  salt
 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper, freshly ground
 1/2  teaspoon  fenugreek leaves
 1  teaspoon  garam masala
 6  tablespoons  butter
 1  cup  heavy cream, at room temperature
 ~  optional  orange food coloring
 ~  optional sprigs cilantro for decorating
 ~  1–2  green chilies, halved and seeded for decoration

*Prepared garlic and ginger will do, but fresh is the best tasting.
**Mace arils are the fragrant outer covering of the nutmeg fruit harvested from the Myristica fragrans tree. Look for them in Indian groceries or online.
***¼ teaspoon will do for a lower spice tolerance, or this ingredient can simply be left out if preferred.


Tandoori Chicken

  1. Strip the meat from the chicken bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside until gravy is prepared.

Tomato-Cream Gravy

Have a wire-mesh strainer ready for step 2.

  1. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cardamom pods, mace, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, fenugreek leaves and garam masala in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Using your wire-mesh strainer, strain blended mixture into a saucepan, making sure to press out all the juices. Any remaining pulp can be thrown away.
  3. On medium heat, bring the gravy to a simmer and continue to cook for 1 minute. Adjust the heat as necessary to prevent mixture from burning.
  4. Add the butter and whisk until well incorporated.
  5. Whisk in the cream and bring the gravy back to a simmer.
  6. Stir in several drops of orange food coloring, if desired, and mix thoroughly.
  7. Add the tandoori chicken pieces to the gravy and continue cooking for 2–3 minutes, until warmed through.
  8. Place the butter chicken in a serving bowl and decorate with the cilantro sprigs and green chilies.