How to Make the Best Butter Chicken

Butter chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a beloved Indian dish celebrated for its rich and creamy tomato-based gravy, tender chunks of marinated chicken, and the subtle infusion of aromatic spices. This culinary masterpiece has a special place in the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts around the world. With a well-crafted recipe and expert tips, you’ll be on your way to mastering this classic dish that brings India’s flavors to your kitchen.

The Essence of Butter Chicken

Before we head towards the recipe, it’s essential to understand the soul of butter chicken. This dish traces its roots to the culinary treasure chest of India, particularly the North Indian region of Punjab. Butter chicken is characterized by its luscious, tomato-based gravy, infused with cream, butter, and an array of aromatic spices. The chicken is typically marinated in yogurt and spices, rendering it tender and flavorful.


For the Chicken Marinade

  • 1.5 lbs (700g) boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

For the Butter Chicken Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 cup tomato puree (from 2-3 medium-sized tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup water (adjust for desired consistency)
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


Marinating the Chicken

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, vegetable oil, and salt to create the marinade.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are well coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and the chicken to become tender.

Cooking the Butter Chicken

  • Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the unsalted butter and vegetable oil.
  • Once the butter melts and starts to bubble, add the finely chopped onions. Sauté the onions until they turn translucent and begin to brown at the edges, which will take about 8-10 minutes.
  • Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until the raw aroma dissipates.
  • Add the red chili powder, garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin, and turmeric powder. Stir well to combine the spices with the onion mixture, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the spices are fragrant and well-roasted.
  • Pour in the tomato puree and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 5-7 minutes until the tomato mixture thickens and releases the oil. You’ll notice the sauce turning a rich red color.
  • Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the heavy cream, stirring continuously to combine it with the tomato mixture. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 2-3 minutes, ensuring it doesn’t come to a boil.
  • Now, add the marinated chicken pieces along with any remaining marinade to the sauce. Stir well to coat the chicken evenly with the creamy tomato gravy.
  • Pour in 1/2 cup of water to achieve your desired consistency. Remember that the sauce will thicken further as it simmers.
  • Cover the pan and let the butter chicken simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, taste the sauce and adjust the salt and spice levels according to your preference. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can add more cream to balance the heat.
  • Garnish your butter chicken with fresh coriander leaves.

Serving Your Masterpiece

Butter chicken is best enjoyed with hot, freshly cooked naan or steamed basmati rice. The creamy tomato gravy perfectly complements the tender, marinated chicken, creating a harmony of flavors that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Pro Tips for the Best Butter Chicken

  1. Whenever possible, use fresh ginger, garlic, and ripe tomatoes for your tomato puree. Fresh ingredients elevate the flavor of your dish.
  2. Marinating the chicken for an extended period (ideally overnight) enhances its tenderness and flavor absorption.
  3. Adjust the amount of red chili powder to your spice preference. For a milder version, reduce the quantity or use Kashmiri chili powder for its vibrant color and less heat.
  4. Don’t shy away from the cream and butter; they are the essence of butter chicken. For a richer flavor, you can add more butter or cream, but be mindful of your dietary preferences.
  5. Adjust the amount of water to achieve your preferred gravy consistency. Some like it thick, while others prefer a more liquid consistency.

The art of crafting the best butter chicken is a rewarding culinary journey that pays off with each indulgent, creamy bite. This classic Indian dish personifies the rich flavors and aromatic spices that have made Indian cuisine famous worldwide. With the detailed recipe and expert tips provided in this guide, you have all the tools you need to recreate the magic of butter chicken in your own kitchen. So, gather your ingredients, embrace the essence of this dish, and get on a gastronomic adventure that will delight your senses and transport you to the vibrant streets of India.


Discover Khana Fresh: We’re deeply passionate about South Asian cuisine, serving the vibrant tastes loved by our Indian and Pakistani communities as well as native residents in the US. Our skilled chefs prepare authentic, fresh dishes. Explore our diverse meal plans: protein-packed, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Simplify mealtime with our support and doorstep delivery. Experience the delightful and healthy South Asian dishes we offer.

Desi Spices: The Health Benefits

Desi spices, often referred to as Indian spices, are the heart and soul of the subcontinent’s rich culinary tradition. Beyond their ability to enhance the flavors of dishes, these spices are also renowned for their impressive health benefits. In this article, we will go into the vibrant world of Desi spices, exploring their medicinal properties and the wellness they can bring to your life. Among the many desi spices, we’ll particularly highlight the beloved garam masala, which is a potent blend of various health-enhancing ingredients.

The Wellness Treasure Trove

Turmeric (Curcumin)

Turmeric is a staple in Indian cuisine and is celebrated for its active compound, curcumin. This bright yellow spice is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It aids in reducing inflammation, alleviating arthritis symptoms, and promoting digestive health. Turmeric is also being studied for its potential cancer-fighting properties.


Cinnamon, with its comforting aroma and sweet, warm flavor, is known to help regulate blood sugar levels. It’s particularly beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is also packed with antioxidants, which can contribute to overall health and well-being.


Cardamom is often used to soothe digestive discomfort, thanks to its carminative properties. It can alleviate bloating, gas, and indigestion. Additionally, cardamom’s aroma is known to have a calming effect, reducing stress and anxiety.


Cumin seeds are a potent digestive aid. They stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, making it easier for the body to break down food. Cumin is also believed to boost the metabolism, aiding in weight management.


Cloves are revered for their antibacterial and antiseptic properties. They can help alleviate toothaches and gum pain. Additionally, cloves contain compounds that may contribute to better liver health and improved digestion.

Garam Masala

Garam masala, a quintessential spice blend in Indian cuisine, deserves special attention for its health benefits.

Warming Properties

“Garam” translates to “warm” in Hindi, and garam masala is designed to warm the body. This blend of spices can boost circulation, promote digestion, and help alleviate symptoms of colds and flu.

Rich in Antioxidants

Garam masala is a treasure trove of antioxidants, thanks to the spices it contains. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Metabolism Boost

Some of the spices in garam masala, such as black pepper and cinnamon, can aid in boosting metabolism and aiding in weight management.


Many of the individual spices found in garam masala have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for reducing inflammation in the body and relieving conditions like arthritis.

Aiding Digestion

Garam masala’s blend of spices can stimulate digestive enzymes and promote healthy digestion. It can also help alleviate digestive discomfort.

Incorporating Desi Spices into Your Diet

To enjoy the health benefits of desi spices, consider incorporating them into your daily diet.

  • Sprinkle turmeric in your morning smoothie or on roasted vegetables.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon to your oatmeal or coffee.
  • Infuse your tea with cardamom pods for a fragrant and soothing beverage.
  • Roast vegetables with cumin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil for a flavorful side dish.
  • Include cloves in your homemade spice blends for a hint of warmth and depth.
  • Integrate garam masala into your curries, stews, and rice dishes to enhance both flavor and wellness.

Desi spices, with their aromatic profiles and potent health benefits, are the essence of Indian cuisine and traditional medicine. Whether you’re seeking to boost your metabolism, alleviate inflammation, or simply add depth to your dishes, these spices have something to offer. Among them, garam masala stands out as a flavorful blend that embodies the essence of Indian spices. So, as you taste the rich flavors of Desi cuisine, know that you’re also nourishing your body and accepting a tradition of wellness that spans generations. Hold on to the vibrant world of Desi spices and perceive both the culinary and health benefits they bring to your life.


Discover Khana Fresh: We’re deeply passionate about South Asian cuisine, serving the vibrant tastes loved by our Indian and Pakistani communities as well as native residents in the US. Our skilled chefs prepare authentic, fresh dishes. Explore our diverse meal plans: protein-packed, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Simplify mealtime with our support and doorstep delivery. Experience the delightful and healthy South Asian dishes we offer.


How to Cook Biryani Like a Pro

Biryani, a tapestry of flavors and aromas, is a culinary marvel that has enthralled taste buds for generations. Originating from the Indian subcontinent, this beloved dish combines fragrant basmati rice, succulent chicken, lamb, or beef, and a symphony of spices to create a unique experience. Embarking on the journey to cook biryani like a pro is an adventure worth savoring, so let’s gather our ingredients and explore the secrets to creating this masterpiece.

1. The Dance of Spices

The heart and soul of biryani lie in the spices, as they hold the essence of the ethnicity of this dish. Begin by gathering an assortment of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and cumin. Heat a dash of oil and let these spices sizzle, releasing their essence and setting the stage for the culinary spectacle that follows. The spices should be in the right proportion, as they balance the bliss of aroma contained in your curry.

2. The Aromatic Symphony

Infuse your kitchen with an enticing aroma by sautéing finely chopped onions until they turn a luscious golden brown and setting them to the side. Another pro tip to keep your onions from getting soggy is to spread them on paper and leave them on the counter for at least 15-20 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and let the medley of scents intoxicate your senses. The harmonious blend of these aromatics sets the foundation for the biryani’s distinctive taste.

3. The Stars of the Show

In a separate cauldron, cook marinated chicken or lamb to tender perfection. Let the meat absorb the flavors of the spices, yogurt, and herbs, transforming it into a succulent delight that will be the highlight of your biryani. Make sure the quantity of sour, sweet, and spice is aptly balanced, coupled with just the right number of tomatoes to add volume to your curry.

Generously use mint leaves and chopped coriander to radiate freshness and complement the zest of the curry.
Pro Tip: Do not soak up the meat stock completely to ensure every spoonful is savored!

4. Rice, the Canvas of Flavors

Parboil the basmati rice, or Sella rice, ensuring each grain retains its individuality. Drain the rice, allowing excess water to escape, and layer it on top of the marinated chicken or lamb. Let the rice soak up the flavors, creating a canvas of taste that will soon be a masterpiece.

Pro Tip: Sella rice is to be soaked at least 3 hours before you start prepping your ingredients, and Basmati rice should not be soaked for more than half an hour before boiling. It accentuates the flavor and gives a Michelin-level outlook on the Biryani!

5. The Art of Layering

Now comes the artistic touch. Alternate the layers of rice and meat to create a mosaic of flavors. Garnish each layer with fried onions, fresh mint leaves, and a sprinkle of saffron-infused milk. This layering technique ensures that every spoonful is a celebration of taste and texture.

6. The Magic of Dum Cooking

Seal the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let the biryani simmer on a low flame. This slow-cooking method, known as “dum,” allows the flavors to intertwine, creating a dish that’s both tender and tantalizing. Let the anticipation build as the biryani cooks to perfection.

7. Presentation of the Culinary Masterpiece – Biryani

Once the aroma becomes irresistible and the rice is fluffy, it’s time to unveil your biryani masterpiece. Gently fluff the layers with a fork, allowing the intoxicating scent to escape. Serve it hot, garnished with fresh coriander leaves, and accompanied by cooling yogurt raita and a zesty salad.

With this culinary journey, you’ve now unraveled the secrets of biryani-making. So, gather your ingredients, ignite the stove, and let the magic of biryani fill your kitchen, making you the true pro of this delectable delight!


Discover Khana Fresh: We’re deeply passionate about South Asian cuisine, serving the vibrant tastes loved by our Indian and Pakistani communities as well as native residents in the US. Our skilled chefs prepare authentic, fresh dishes. Explore our diverse meal plans—protein-packed, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Simplify mealtime with our support and doorstep delivery. Experience the delightful and healthy South Asian dishes we offer.