Recipe: A Fresh Spin to Authentic Butter Chicken – The Indian SCENE

Recipe: A Fresh Spin to Authentic Butter Chicken

This creamy butter chicken recipe is the best kind of comfort food for a chilly winter day.

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Butter Chicken has always been a favorite meal in my household and I make it regularly during the winter months. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Butter Chicken is a classic Indian dish packed with robust flavors which has chunks of chicken breasts or thighs simmered in a creamy, thick, and spicy tomato sauce. I tend to lighten up my recipe by using full-fat coconut milk (unsweetened) in place of the traditional heavy cream and plain yogurt; and only add one tablespoon of butter at the very end of the cooking phase, just for taste. The coconut milk helps to tenderize the meat, keeping it moist and tender. You can also replace the butter with coconut oil and make this recipe completely dairy-free, low on carb, keto, and paleo diet friendly.

I like to marinate the chicken a day before. I use a blender and mix all the ingredients together to create a thick and favorable marinate base. Then, I use a non-stick pan and pour the chicken mixture in and adjust the taste as needed.


1 can of full-fat Goya coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 can of seasoned tomato sauce (salsa de tomate) with onion, garlic, and cilantro

1 pound of boneless chicken breast or thighs cut into 1.5 cubes

1 tablespoon of Kashmiri chili powder

1 tablespoon of coriander powder

½ teaspoon of turmeric

1.5 tablespoon ginger garlic paste or freshly grated ginger and garlic

1 teaspoon of garam masala powder

1 teaspoon of salt for taste

1 fist full of fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

5 to 7 Thai green chilies (adjust quantity as per your spice and taste level)

1 freshly chopped tomato

1 medium sized onion

½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of chili garlic Sauce (adjust to your taste level)

½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of sugar (adjust to your taste level)

½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (adjust to your taste level)

1 fist full of fresh baby spinach coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon of butter


Set aside the chicken in a large mixing bowl. Place all the ingredients except spinach and butter into a blender. Blend until the ingredients turn into a smooth paste. Taste the mixture and adjust spice level by adding salt and sugar.

Pour the mixture over the chicken and make sure to coat the entire chicken batch. You may choose to marinate it 30 minutes prior to cooking, however, I prefer to do it overnight.

For the next steps, heat up your non-stick pan over medium heat. Pour in the chicken mixture into the pan and cover it with a lid. Allow the gravy to simmer for about 25 minutes. Add in spinach and butter and adjust the taste, if needed. Let it cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or less. Once done, serve alongside basmati rice or naan and enjoy!

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