Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Gluten-free/lactose-free/low carb

Indian food varies in spiciness. I like subtle creamy flavours. This recipe ticked all the boxes; it’s simple to make. Even simpler when you use items from the pantry, like pureed ginger and garlic, both from tubes. I’ve made this recipe twice now, especially when I have lots of leftover roasted chicken. I don’t understand the current liking for chicken thighs; not even our dogs will eat them. When I’m doing this recipe, I just make the sauce, and then for the last 10-plus minutes, when it has thickened, I add the cooked chicken. It’s a very easy, quick dinner. I serve it with cauliflower rice. It has a lovely depth of flavours which is livened up by lemon or lime juice. I would highly recommend this recipe. Enjoy it, and let me know what you think of it. It supposedly makes 8 servings. but I would think 4 using leftover chopped roast chicken.

Nutrition: 1 serving Calories 332kcal/ Carbohydrates: 7g/ Net Carbs: 6g/ Protein: 22g/ Fat: 15g/ Sodium: 306mg/ Potassium: 313mg/ Fibre: 1g.


  • 1 piece of ginger minced (I used pureed ginger)
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced (I used pureed garlic)
  • 1 small lemon juiced (I used bottled lemon juice)
  • 1.25lbs of chicken thighs (I used leftover roast chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons of Tandoori curry paste or any paste you have
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (i used Arla lactose-free butter)
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee (I used 2 more tablespoons of butter)
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 x 14oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups of chicken broth
  • 1.25 cups of heavy cream (I used Arla lactose-free cream).


  1. If you are using raw chicken, add it to a bowl with ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and tandoori curry paste. Mix it well.
  2. Add the butter to a non-stick pan and place over medium heat; once hot add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes, until no longer pink. Remove from the pan.
  3. Add the ghee to the pan, then the onion and all the spices; cook gently until fragrant. Note: The last thing you want is the bitter taste of burnt butter or spices. A small splash of water will reduce the heat and prevent burning.
  4. Add the chicken back into the pan, plus the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring it to a simmer.
  5. Once it has thickened, stir through the heavy (double cream in the UK). Let it simmer for 10-12 minutes or until it has thickened.

Note 1: If you make the sauce only like I do, start at method point 3 (above). Cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of butter. Remove the onions when cooked. Then add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan (or ghee if you prefer) and gently cook all the curry paste and spices. Add the onion back into the pan with the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth and simmer the sauce until it reduces slightly. Add the cream and simmer for 10-12 minutes. When reduced, taste the sauce and add lemon juice to your taste. Finally, add the roast chicken and simmer until the chicken is heated through.

Note 2: if you use a single cream, you must simmer it until it reduces and thickens. Take care it doesn’t burn. Adding 1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan gum or arrowroot is an alternative to thickening. With Xanthan gum, sprinkle it onto the sauce and whisk in quickly. If not, you may get small lumps of it in the sauce.

You can store the butter chicken in an airtight container in the fridge. If stored correctly, it will last for 3-4 days.

You can freeze the butter chicken in an airtight-freezer container, labelled and dated, for up to 3 months. To reheat, defrost it in the fridge, then reheat it on the cooker top or in a microwave.

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