Warm, buttery, flavorful chicken served over basmati rice. This Butter Chicken will become a quick favorite for your family!
Stocking Up on Food
I generally like to keep a supply of prepared meals in our deep freezer. They’re a life saver on busy weeknights, or if I’m just too tired to make a meal. A few weeks ago when I realized life would be different for the foreseeable future, I decided I’d make a few extra meals to put away.
One night I planned on making Butter Chicken. I was doubling the recipe, so that we could eat half now and freeze the other half for later, so I used a five pound pack of chicken. After browning the chicken, I realized I didn’t have onions for the sauce. I asked my husband to bring home onions and he said that he would, but he was also happy to just pick up dinner.
Without thinking it through, I put the half-cooked, browned chicken in a bowl in the fridge. The next night when I got home from work, I opened the fridge to find a TERRIBLE chicken-gone-bad smell. I realized the error of my ways, threw away my precious five pounds of chicken, and had my husband go get dinner again.
Life Lesson: Do not put half cooked chicken in the refrigerator.
I started creating this recipe a few months ago, and it has quickly become a favorite in my house. It’s just so comforting and delicious. Here are a few tips for success:
Do I have to use ghee?
I highly recommend that you use ghee – it just gives this butter chicken a fantastic flavor.
If I don’t have ghee, what can I use instead?
If you do not have ghee, you can substitute a combination of half butter and half olive oil. For example, if you need 3 tablespoons of ghee, use 1.5 tbsp of butter and 1.5 tbsp of olive oil.
It’s still good with the substitution, but trust me when I say you should use ghee if you’re able.
What kind of coconut milk?
For the best results, use full fat, canned coconut milk. This allows the mixture to thicken well.
What type of chicken should I use for butter chicken?
You can use either boneless, skinless breasts or thighs. I prefer the breasts where as my husband prefers thighs, so sometimes I’ll use both in one batch.
Why use maple syrup?
Traditionally butter chicken uses fenugreek, which has a maple syrup like flavor. However, I just can’t find any in my area, so I use just a taste of maple syrup instead.
This Butter Chicken is a filling, delightful meal that will be sure to impress!
- 3 large chicken breasts cut into ~1 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 4 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 3 1/2 tbsp ghee divided
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 14.5 ounce canned tomatoes with chiles
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup canned coconut milk full fat
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 3.5 cups water
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 teaspoon salt
- cilantro for serving
- In a large bowl stir together yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, turmeric, and chili powder. Add cut chicken and stir well to coat all chicken. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (okay to leave overnight in refrigerator).
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt ghee. Add chicken and cook until chicken is browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, melt 3 tbsp of ghee. Add diced onion and saute until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and saute for another minute.
- Add cumin, coriander tomatoes, chili powder, and salt. Stir well. Reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Remove mixture from pot and place in blender. Puree until smooth.
- Return sauce to pot. Add chicken and coconut milk. Stir well and simmer for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in maple syrup and garam masala just before serving. May stir in an additional 1/2 tbsp of ghee at this time as well (makes sauce slightly richer, but not necessary if you prefer to leave it out).
- Melt ghee in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add rice and saute for about 1 minute. Stir in water and salt.
- Bring water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed
- Serve chicken over basmati. Top with fresh, chopped cilantro if desired.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
If you enjoyed this Butter Chicken, you might also enjoy these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Lemongrass Chicken Potstickers
Chicken Tikka Masala (slow cooker or Instant Pot)
Lemongrass Curry Chicken
Homemade Skillet Naan
Links to items used to make this recipe:
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