Kamil Choudhury

#define ZERO -1 // oh no it's technology all the way down

The Butter Chicken Recipe


  • 4 pounds of chicken. A mix of thigh and breast meat is the way to go.
  • 8 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 2 teaspoons of red chili powder. I use the Kashmiri variant, but don't get hung up on it.
  • 3 cans of crushed tomatoes.
  • 6 ounces of cashew nuts.
  • 16 ounces of whipped greek yogurt.
  • 8-10 garlic cloves. If you want more, don't be shy about it.
  • 2.5 large white onions.
  • 4 tablespoons of butter.
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of grape vinegar.
  • Salt to taste

The Recipe

Mix chili powder and chicken, and brown the mixture 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside. Do not discard the juices.

While the meat is browning, use a mixer to blend cashew nuts, tomatoes and yogurt until the cashew nuts have been reduced to fine grains. Set aside.

Dice two onions crudely, and blend them with the garlic cloves in the mixer.

Chop remaining half onion finely, and fry in the same pot used to brown meat.

Once the fried onions start browning, add the blended onion/garlic mixture and the tomato/cashew puree. Add in the butter and sugar, and a first helping of salt (I usually do about 1 teaspoon).

Turn the heat up and cover the pot; the sauce will turn a characteristic orange-red in about fifteen minutes. When it does, force the mixture through a strainer to remove its lumpiness: the makhani in this recipe refers not only to the butter used in the recipe, but its texture as well.

Add the chicken back into strained sauce along with the grape vinegar, and cook on high heat until the meat is tender. Continue cooking on lower heat until you're happy with the consistency of the sauce: I like it pretty thick, but this is your dinner.

Final Dispositions

This is a fast and loose recipe, and I tend to modify it as I cook. My only advice is to keep adding salt at the end until it tastes like butter chicken. Serve with hot white rice, and be prepared for the coronary which is certain to follow.

@SkeleCap has an interesting take on this recipe that involves a jar of Rao's pasta sauce. I'm not going to steal his thunder though -- make sure you make him tell you about it.