Butter Chicken

Sooooo.  I have something to fess up to.  I have never eaten Indian food.  Not a curry or a even a piece of naan has graced my lips.  A complete oversight on my part.  It feels good to come clean.

I have never stepped foot in an Indian restaurant.  I have never eaten Indian take-out.  And up until recently, I had never cooked an Indian dish.  I wasn’t proud of my oversight, but I wasn’t beating myself up about it…that was until I spoke with my dear father.  I was chatting with my dad and he was inquiring about my day and how the cooking was going.  After I chided him for being on facebook at work (thats how he knew I was cooking on my day off…yep, dad is a facbooker)…dad mentioned that he wasn’t a real fan of the Indian cuisine – a bit too spicy for him.  What?!?  Wait a minute.  Hold the train….Dad, you have eaten Indian food?   And I haven’t?!?  I now hang my head in shame.  Sorry dad, but you just aren’t the person in my life who I thought would be eating Indian food….before me.  Everyone else…yes.  Dad, no.   (however, dad does have an ipad (his children don’t) and kinda gets facebook… so he is kind of hip, i should have known)

I have no excuse to why I haven’t eaten Indian food.  I live in a fairly large city…a city that LOVES food.  So, we have tons of Indian restaurants.  No excuse people.  No excuse.

So, today I remedy that.  The idea for butter chicken was not generated by me…up until last week, I hadn’t a clue that it existed.  At my new gig, I work with several Indian gals and I have been slowly picking their brains.  They are full of new information.  Love it!

I asked for a simple but flavorful dish to start with and before I knew it I had a recipe in hand and a plan for my day off.  Perfect!

I am happy to report that this dish is delicious.  I am not sure if it stacks up to traditional Indian cuisine….being a newbie and all.  But from a standpoint of making my own taste buds happy…total success.  This is some total comfort food and while it isn’t exactly spicy it does create a bit of warmth…or heat.  Nothing that had me running for a glass of cold milk or causing me to break out in a sweat…I don’t like to sweat when I am eating.  Sorry, that was gross.  True, but gross.

Butter Chicken

Servings 3-4



  • 1 Cup 2% Greek Yogurt ( I like Fage brand), plain
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Ginger
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (found at local Indian Markets)
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 lb Skinless, boneless Chicken Thighs (about 4)


  • 2 Tablespoon Peanut Oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup Tomato Puree
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 Cup 2 % Greek Yogurt (plain)
  • 1 Cup Half + Half

Whisk yogurt in medium sized bowl until smooth.  Mix in ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, garam masala, and cayenne pepper.

With a fork, poke holes into chicken thighs and then cut into bite size chunks.  Add chicken to the yogurt mixture and toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or several hours or overnight…whatever fits your schedule.

Begin sauce when chicken is done marinating.

In a small dish combine the garam masala, chili powder, cumin, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil and butter over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add shallot, onion, ginger, and garlic.  Saute until the shallot and onion are softened and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.  The tomato paste should turn slightly brown.  If it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, just reduce the heat a bit.  Stir in the small bowl of spices.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring often.  Pour in tomato puree and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.

While the curry sauce is simmering.  Begin to cook the chicken.  In another large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of peanut oil over medium/high heat.  Once warm, add chicken to skillet and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, turning often.   ( I added the whole bowl of chicken plus marinade – couldn’t really separate the two!)

 Whisk together half and half and yogurt and stir it into the simmering curry sauce.  When the chicken is cooked through, transfer the chicken pieces to the curry sauce and stir to combine.

Serve over basmati rice and with a side of naan.



Published by Mallory

A twenty - something (at least for a little while longer) trying to squeeze the most out of life...but mainly baking/cooking up a storm in my kitchen while watching Netflix.

One thought on “Butter Chicken

  1. You have to start somewhere and having people you know who grew up eating Indian cuisine is great! We love Indian food and although I’ve only make it a few times, love it! I think we end up looking for local take out which is really good. Great recipe I’d like to try…


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