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Mango Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)

Updated: Aug 27

A Journey into Indian Cuisine

If you're a fan of Indian food, then you'll definitely want to try making my recipe for Mango Butter Chicken! This dish is a must-try for anyone who loves the rich and creamy flavours of Indian cuisine. Inspired by the famous Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, my recipe features tender and juicy chicken pieces cooked in a buttery, creamy curry sauce and finished with mango chutney for a bomb of fruity flavour.

To make this dish, you'll need a few simple ingredients, including chicken breasts, garlic, butter, cream, chutney and a few spices. The recipe is easy to follow and can be prepared quickly as long as you marinate chicken overnight.

Why not give it a go? Whether you're a pro in the kitchen or just starting out, my Butter Chicken recipe is guaranteed to wow your taste buds. So throw on your apron and get ready to savour the mouth-watering flavours of this classic Indian dish!

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Butter Chicken in the bowl
Outstanding aroma!

The Origins of Butter Chicken: Unravelling the History and Flavours of an Indian Classic

A Dish Steeped in History:

Butter chicken, often referred to as "Murgh Makhani" in Hindi, is a delectable Indian delicacy that has enchanted food lovers for generations. With its creamy, butter-laden gravy and tender chicken pieces, it's no wonder this dish has become synonymous with Indian cuisine for many.

The Accidental Invention:

The origins of butter chicken are as fascinating as its flavours. The tale goes that in the bustling streets of Delhi during the 1950s, Chef Kundan Lal Gujral of the famed Moti Mahal restaurant faced a culinary dilemma. Left with an abundance of tandoori chicken that was losing its moisture, he ingeniously decided to immerse it in a rich, tomato-based gravy infused with butter and cream. The result? A dish that took the culinary world by storm.

A Symphony of Flavors:

Over the years, butter chicken has undergone numerous transformations, adapting to the palates of different regions and cultures. While some savour the fiery kick of spices, others lean towards a milder, creamier version. The versatility of this dish is also evident in its vegetarian adaptations, where paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or tofu replaces the chicken, offering a delightful alternative.

Crafting the Perfect Butter Chicken at Home:

For those inspired by its rich history and tantalizing flavours, making butter chicken at home is a rewarding experience. Begin by marinating chicken in a medley of spices and yogurt to infuse it with depth and flavour. Once marinated, pan-sear the chicken to perfection and let it simmer in a luscious tomato gravy enriched with butter and aromatic spices. Paired with fluffy basmati rice or warm naan bread, this homemade delicacy promises a culinary journey like no other.

Step-by-Step to Deliciousness: Mastering the Art of Homemade Indian Curry Preparation

Preparation details:

Marinating time: 1h (preferably overnight)

Preparation time: 35 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

This recipe makes: 8 portions

The Spice Blend: Essential Butter Chicken Masala:

Marinating Magic: Infusing the Chicken

  • 2.2 Pounds of large chicken breasts, cut into large dice (1kg)

  • 2tbsp minced garlic

  • 1tsp minced ginger

  • 3tbsp of butter chicken masala

  • 1 lemon juice

  • small bunch of fresh coriander stalks (keep leaves for garnish)

  • 1tsp of salt

Ingredients for the Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil or ghee (for pan frying the chicken)

  • 2tbsp of butter or ghee

  • 1.7 Pounds of chopped tomatoes (around 800g)

  • 2 medium onions, fine dice

  • 2tbsp of minced garlic

  • 2tbsp of butter chicken masala

  • 1tsp of salt (add to taste)

  • 2tbsp of mango chutney

  • 1 cup of heavy cream (240ml)

How to prepare Butter Chicken:

1. To prepare butter chicken masala, marinate diced chicken overnight in the fridge or for at least 1 hour outside of the fridge.

2. Heat oil or ghee in a non-stick frying pan over high heat and pan-fry chicken pieces in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Get some nice browning on the chicken and scrape any bits that get stuck. Keep the chicken in a separate pot for later use.

3. In the same frying pan, reduce heat to medium and melt butter or ghee. Add finely diced onions with 1 tsp of salt and sweat until translucent for about 10 minutes. Next, add minced ginger and garlic followed by the remaining spice blend and any remaining chicken marinade. Increase the heat slightly and cook until fragrant for about 2 minutes.

4. Add chopped tomatoes to the pan and combine, then pour in double cream. Blend the sauce with an immersion blender. Add chicken and mango chutney to the sauce and bring it up to a simmer. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, and season to your taste with salt if needed.

5. When ready, serve the dish garnished with fresh coriander. You can enjoy it with cucumber raita, naan bread and basmati rice.

Mango Butter chicken in the bowl

A Note From the Chef

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FAQs for the recipe:

  • Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts? Yes, you can use thighs, but you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly (simmer in the sauce for 30 minutes instead of 10)

  • Can I substitute heavy cream with something else? You can use coconut milk instead of heavy cream for a dairy-free option.

  • Can I freeze the butter chicken? Yes, you can freeze the butter chicken for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat on the stovetop rather than microwave as it may split the sauce.

  • Can I skip blending the sauce with an immersion blender? Yes, you can skip blending the sauce with an immersion blender, but it will result in a chunkier sauce.

Variations for the recipe:

  • Vegetarian Butter Paneer - Replace chicken with paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese) and follow the same recipe. Marinate paneer with spices for an hour, and pan-fry until golden brown. Add paneer to the sauce and simmer until cooked through.

  • Slow Cooker Butter Chicken - Brown the chicken thighs on a skillet and add it to a slow cooker with the sauce ingredients. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.

  • Butter Chicken with Vegetables - Add chopped bell peppers, carrots, and peas to the sauce for a colourful and nutritious variation of the recipe. You can also serve it over a bed of spinach or kale for a healthy twist.

  • Butter Chicken Wraps - Serve the butter chicken with fresh lettuce leaves or tortillas for a quick and easy wrap. Add sliced onions, tomatoes, and cucumber for extra crunch.

Check out my other Indian recipes:

  • Chickpea Madras Curry - I highly recommend trying my recipe for a mouth-watering Chickpea Madras Curry, featuring roasted sweet potatoes and creamy coconut milk.

  • Chicken Tandoori - Chicken Tandoori is definitely one of my favourites, especially when served on fragrant rice like Biryani. Enjoy cooking!

  • Onion Bhaji - Onion Bhaji is a delightful Indian appetizer that is hard to resist. With a crispy exterior and a deliciously spiced interior, it's a perfect snack to enjoy with your favourite dip.

  • Crunchy Cauliflower Bites & Tikka Masala Dip - Super crunchy fried cauliflower bites with smooth and delicate tikka masala sauce, perfect starter or a snack that you can prepare in no time!

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