Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

This project was meant to push comfort zones, and venturing into Indian curries from scratch definitely did that. Exotic spices from a specialty store, hand-mincing ginger and garlic as finely as I can, marinating chicken in yogurt and lemon, frying whole spices, pretending a hot wok is a tandoor oven.

Turns out that butter chicken is like a global interpretation of Indian cuisine, but it still starts with tandoori chicken, a bunch of spices (many which I hadn’t heard of before), and — of course — butter. Preferably ghee, or clarified butter, but I was baking too!

Sourced from, with input from so many other resources that I lost track.


Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

  • In 1.5 tbsp butter, fry 5 green cardamom pods crushed, 1 cinnamon stick crushed, and 4 cloves until fragrant
  • Add 1 small onion finely diced. Cook 5-7 minutes, until light brown.
  • Add 1” ginger grated, 2 green chilies sliced lengthwise, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 3 tbsp tomato paste (or 2 tomatoes diced).
  • Add 1/2 cup heavy cream, simmer 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 1 tbsp fenugreek leaf powder, some sugar if tomatoes were tangy, water to desired thickness. Salt to taste.
  • Add chicken, simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Serve with basmati rice or Indian breads.

Updated 3/20, with bolded ingredients, fresh tomatoes, and a new photo (now featuring cilantro and skillet!)

with mood lighting


Tandoori Chicken Tikka

  • Marinate 1 lb chicken thighs overnight in 2 tbsp thick yogurt (e.g. Greek), juice of 1/2 lemon, 4 cloves garlic minced, 1” ginger grated, 1 green chili minced, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp mild paprika, pinch chili powder, pinch cinnamon powder.
  • Skewer, then roast on hot grill, basting in butter, turning frequently, or stir fry in butter.