Butter Chicken

Why oh why is this dish so good? The cream? The spices? I don’t know.  All I know is I love it so.

A few years back I heard a few of my friends having ‘Butter Chicken cook-offs”, so I knew I could get all the ingredients I needed here, but I never partook.  I was missing out.

Some of these ingredients are harder to find here on the Riviera Maya, but were brought up by my friend from Belize.  You sure do appreciate things and take care of them when you can’t just run out and buy more.  My tandoori masala and fenugreek leaves are triple ziplocked so that the Yucatan humidity won’t destroy them.

If you are wanting to make this for dinner tonight and don’t have all the ingredients, don’t despair. The last time I made this I used chaat masala instead of tandoori and I didn’t have an fenugreek so they were left out.  Still tasted great to me.

Who knew that marinating chicken in yogurt and spices could be so good?  You need to serve this over some basmati or jasmine rice, to help soak up all that saucy goodness. Or, some naan bread wouldn’t hurt either.

Who needs to go out for Indian when you can have it at home?




  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 TAB tandoori masala (i have used chaat masala when i ran out of tandoori)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 TAB cooking oil


  • 3 TAB butter
  • 1 TAB canola oil (or any oil without flavour)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 TAB coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)


In a medium bowl, combine tandoori masala, ginger, garlic, and yogurt.  Whisk until smooth.  Add chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours covered in the refrigerator.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes, chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, let cool for a few minutes.  Add mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.  (Keep that hand on the lid so it doesn’t end up on your ceiling!)

Heat remaining oil in skillet.  Add marinated chicken and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until browned on all sides.  Add the sauce to the pot and heat through.  Once it starts to simmer, add cream and garam masala.  When it regains a simmer, add fenugreek leaves if using.

Serve immediately.


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