The best-ever butter chicken

June 1, 2020 (Last Updated: May 30, 2020)
The best-ever butter chicken

The chicken marinade can be prepared the day before making this dish

Recipe by Claire Ferrandi

Photograph by Dylan Swart

The best-ever butter chicken

Serves: 4
Total Time: 1 hr + 4 hrs, to marinate



  • 500g skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 80g full-cream Greek/plain yoghurt

  • olive oil, to fry
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 20g fresh ginger, unpeeled and finely grated
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds/methi seeds (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander + extra, to serve
  • 2 tsp masala/curry powder/smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500ml (2 cups) tomato purée
  • 250ml (1 cup) fresh cream
  • handful chopped fresh coriander, to serve
  • naan bread/cooked
  • basmati rice, to serve



For the marinade, combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate to marinate, at least 4 hours or overnight for best results.


For the sauce, drizzle a little olive oil into a large pot over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of the butter. Once the butter has melted, sauté the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and fenugreek/methi seeds (if using) in the pot until the onion is translucent. Add the spices and stir to combine, then add the tomato paste and allow to cook, 5 – 10 minutes. Add the tomato purée and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, then stir in the cream and remaining 2 tbsp butter. Remove from the heat and set aside in the pot.


In a frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over high heat and fry the chicken pieces for 5 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Add the browned chicken to the sauce and combine gently.


Place the butter chicken in a serving bowl and sprinkle the chopped coriander and a little ground coriander over. Serve with naan bread or basmati rice alongside.

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