Pakistani Butter Chicken

  • Servings : 3-4
  • Prep Time : 40m
  • Cook Time : 1m
  • Ready In : 2m


  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 green chili, destalked (to reduce heat, remove seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons chickpeas flour (gram flour)
  • 1 teaspoon mild paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or a little more if you like spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • One pinch cinnamon powder
  • One pinch saffron, crushed
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • (for the sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon grated ginger (about 1 inch fresh ginger)
  • 2 green chilis, slit lengthwise (again, remove seeds to reduce heat)
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder (or mild paprka)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 3 tablespoon tomato puree (or tomato paste)
  • 150 ml heavy cream (or whipping cream)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaf (optional)
  • 50 ml water (or more if the mixture gets dry)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander for garnish


Step 1

First prepare the chicken:

Step 2

Place the ginger, garlic and green chili in a wet grinder (or use a mortar and pestle) and blend to a smooth paste.

Step 3

Mix the yogurt with the gram flour in a bowl until smooth and turns to a thick paste.

Step 4

Add the two pastes together, and add the paprika, chili powder, garam masala and coriander powder. Also mix in the ground cinnamon, saffron and salt.

Step 5

Stir well, then add the chicken pieces and mix well, making sure to coat them in the thick marinade. Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight if you have time.

Step 6

When ready, using a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the skillet with the heat on medium, then pour entire chicken with marinade into the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, turning once in a while to ensure the chicken cooks evenly.

Step 7

While the chicken is cooking, place another large, deep skillet on another burner on low heat and add the butter. When hot, add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and cloves. Fry for 20 seconds, then add the onions and sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until they are lightly browned.

Step 8

Add the grated ginger and chilis and fry for another minute. Add the chili powder and garam masala, stir for 20 seconds and then add the tomato puree. Mix well and cook for several minutes.

Step 9

Gradually add the heavy cream, stirring occasionally to mix it with all the spices. Simmer and cook for 2 minutes.

Step 10

Stir in the honey and fenugreek leaves (optional), and taste for seasoning (add salt if necessary). Add the water.

Step 11

Now add the chicken to the sauce and simmer on low heat for an additional 15-20 minutes (add more water or cream if the sauce has reduced a lot - see picture).

Step 12

Garnish with coriander and serve over basmati rice or with naan.

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