Easy Butter-Chicken

Both my children are in their teens and for the past 5-6 years our house has been party-central!  One of those times when I had a house full of kids demanding Indian food, I made butter chicken for a group of 10-12 kids.  Fortunately I had enough frozen naans to feed this little army and all I needed to do was heat the naans in a toaster oven but in spite of that I was not able to keep pace with them.  I had prepared butter chicken in the largest cooking pot that I possessed but, by the time these kids left, the pot had been wiped clean!  After that evening, the fame of my butter chicken spread through our neighborhood kids and when I couldn’t cook for them, they would end up at the local Indian restaurant for a butter chicken binge.  There have been times when I have bumped into moms of kids in the local supermarket and they have stopped me to talk about how much their kids love my butter-chicken and how they need the recipe!  I have promised this recipe to so many moms that I had to put it up on my blog.  I usually make this dish with left-over tandoori chicken and so I recommend that you look for that recipe first (on page 1 of this blog) and then after the chicken is cooked, you add it the sauce described below.  BTW I know the name says that it is an”easy” butter chicken recipe but the term easy is used in relative terms – it is MUCH easier than the original traditional butter chicken recipe and tastes just as good!  But it does have a lot of steps and if you follow them carefully, it will turn out great!


1.    1-1.5 lbs of cooked boneless tandoori chicken (recipe for it is on Page 1 of the blog)
2.    1 pint of light cream
3.    1 can of 6 oz tomato paste
4.    2 medium sized onions
5.    3-4 fresh garlic cloves
6.    2 teaspoons of salt
7.    1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
8.    1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
9.    1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
10.    3 teaspoons of Garam Masala (available at all Indian stores)
11.    3-4 tablespoons of Kasuri methi /dried fenugreek leaves (available at Indian stores)
12.    One tablespoon of sugar
13.    2 cups of water
14.    3-4 tablespoons of cooking oil (I used corn oil)
15.    One fresh green bell pepper
16.    A few Cilantro leaves for garnish


1.    In a medium sized sauce pan, add the cooking oil and start heating it on low heat.
2.    Peel and cut the onions in small pieces and add them to the heated oil in the pan.
3.    Stir the onions frequently so they do not burn and then add the cumin seeds and stir.
4.    Peel and cut the garlic in small pieces and add to the pot.
5.    Keep stirring the contents of the pot and after 5-6 minutes of cooking, add turmeric powder, salt, garam masala, pepper flakes and tomato paste and stir again.

6.    Then add the cream and continue cooking till the cream comes to boil.

7.    Pour all the contents from the pan into a blender and add a cup of water and blend till all the contents are blended thoroughly into a thick sauce.
8.    Pour the sauce back into the pot and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
9.    Add more water if the sauce is too thick.

10.    Add the sugar and Kasuri methi leaves and stir.
11.    Cut the pieces of tandoori chicken into bite sized pieces and add them to the sauce.
12.    Cut the bell pepper into bite sized pieces and add them to the sauce as well.
13.    Cook the chicken and the pepper pieces in the sauce for an additional 4-5 minutes.
14.    Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve the butter chicken while it is still piping hot, with any flat bread on the side.

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  1. Permalink Submitted by qamar on Wed, 21/03/2012 - 09:16

    Hi Shabnam,

    This is amazing !!!!! how wonderful is this !!! am sorry i could check this out only now… its exciting and IMPRESSIVE !!! So happy to see this new development, of course you are a wonderful cook, i can say this from personal experience :))
    love and best of the best wishes from each of us,

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Wed, 21/03/2012 - 14:31

      Thanks Raju!!!! How are you? Do send me news of you via email!!!

  2. Permalink Submitted by Shilpa Patel on Thu, 22/03/2012 - 14:03

    Shabnam, I learned this from a friend: in a pinch, you can use a can of Campbell’s tomato soup (condensed) and add that to the sautéed onions and spices…it is mild flavored and creamy, and although it sounds bizarre, it does work. Try it sometime!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 22/03/2012 - 17:04

      Sure to try it the next time Shilpa 🙂

  3. Permalink Submitted by Bibu on Fri, 11/05/2012 - 02:22

    tried the butter chicken recipe…it was awesome!!! my kids and hubby loved it..

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Fri, 11/05/2012 - 23:48

      Yayyyy, Bibu…that is great indeed 🙂 I am always thrilled by positive feedback – makes my day!!!

  4. Permalink Submitted by Bibu on Mon, 22/10/2012 - 02:24

    This chicken is amazing!!!! My family loved it…I did substitute half the cream with non fat Greek yogurt….still tasted great!!! Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Permalink Submitted by Bibu on Mon, 22/10/2012 - 02:25

      Did not know I had already commented on this recipe….

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Mon, 22/10/2012 - 20:44

      Hi Bibu – that sounds like a great idea – I will try the Greek yogurt – always good to cut out some fat when possible 🙂 THANK YOU!!!!

  5. Permalink Submitted by Rupali khanna on Fri, 04/09/2015 - 21:39

    Hi Shabnam. I made this yesterday for my daughters friends. They all loved it. Your recipe is very similar to mine. I did add the cashews as you suggested. Usually I add almond meal. It worked really well. Thanks for the recipe and the hint.

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Sat, 12/09/2015 - 18:12

      Thanks Rupali! Glad you liked it 🙂 You are such a great cook yourself that every time you try my recipes, I am nervous that it may not come up to your expectations. So glad, this one worked out 🙂

      • Permalink Submitted by Rupali Khanna on Fri, 25/09/2015 - 14:57

        Your recipes have never failed – such great flavour combinations! And having made a few, adding them to my repertoire has provided a whole new playing field.

        • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Fri, 25/09/2015 - 15:27

          Arey waah!!! What a great compliment from my most-talented-foodie-friend! How are you? Are enjoying the comforts of being at “home” and eating all the yummy things? Let’s talk soon. xoxox

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