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Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice

Prep Time:

20 Minutes

Cook Time:

45 Minutes


2 Servings



About the Recipe

Elevate your dining experience with this sumptuous Butter Chicken recipe, tailored for four, featuring succulent chicken thighs nestled in a velvety, spiced tomato sauce. This rendition of the iconic North Indian dish is paired with aromatic basmati rice, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that promise a fulfilling and comforting meal. Ideal for gatherings or a family dinner, this recipe ensures a generous serving of warmth and deliciousness, making every bite a celebration of rich, creamy goodness.


For the Butter Chicken:
  • 4 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 150g each), cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 cup Full-fat yogurt (for marinade)

  • 2 tsp Garam masala

  • 2 tsp Turmeric powder

  • 2 tsp Cumin powder

  • 2 tsp Coriander powder

  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced

  • 2 inches Ginger, grated

  • Salt, to taste

  • 4 tbsp Butter

  • 1/2 cup Onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cups Tomato purée

  • 1 cup Heavy cream

  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder (for color and mild heat)

  • 2 tsp Honey (to balance acidity)

  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

  • 1 Lemon, juiced (for finishing touch)

For the Basmati Rice:
  • 2 cups Basmati rice

  • 4 cups Water

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • 2 Bay leaves (optional for added aroma)


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander, half the minced garlic, grated ginger, and a pinch of salt. Add the chicken thighs to the marinade, ensuring they're fully coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or for best flavor, leave it overnight.

Step 2: Cook the Chicken

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken thighs and sear until each side is golden brown, approximately 5-7 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

Step 3: Prepare the Sauce

In the same skillet, add the remaining butter. Sauté the onions until soft and golden, then add the remaining garlic, cooking until aromatic. Pour in the tomato purée, add the chili powder and honey, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.

Step 4: Combine Chicken and Sauce

Add the chicken back into the skillet with the tomato sauce. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the sauce is rich and creamy. Finish with lemon juice and adjust seasoning with salt as needed.

Step 5: Cook the Basmati Rice

While the chicken simmers, rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, adding the rinsed rice, salt, and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Step 6: Garnish and Serve

Plate the butter chicken alongside a generous helping of basmati rice. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro for a burst of color and freshness.

Chef's Notes:

  • Marinating Time: For the most flavorful experience, marinate the chicken overnight. This allows the spices to deeply penetrate the meat, resulting in more tender and flavorful chicken.

  • Sauce Consistency: If the sauce seems too thick, a splash of water or chicken broth can be added to reach your desired consistency.

  • Dietary Adjustments: For a lighter version, substitute heavy cream with coconut milk or a low-fat cream alternative. Use a plant-based butter substitute for a dairy-free option.

  • Pairing Suggestions: Complement this dish with a side of cucumber salad or a simple lentil dal to add variety and balance to your meal.


This Butter Chicken recipe encapsulates the essence of indulgent comfort food, offering a perfect blend of spice, flavor, and creaminess. It's a testament to the timeless appeal of Indian cuisine, promising an enchanting dining experience that's as nourishing for the soul as it is delightful to the palate. Enjoy the process of creating this beloved dish and savor the rich tapestry of flavors it brings to your table.

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