Indian Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is an East Indian dish popular in many restaurants. Here’s our version.

Yield: Serves 6

Indian Butter Chicken


  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. To prepare spice paste, place first 11 ingredients (onions through garlic) in a food processor. Process, using an on/off motion, until almost smooth. Do not overprocess; set aside.
  2. Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken in batches and brown on both sides, adding remaining oil as necessary. Transfer chicken to a plate. Drain off excess fat from pan.
  3. Reduce heat; add butter to pan and heat until bubbly. Add spice paste and cook, stirring, for 3 – 4 minutes or until fragrant. Whisk in cream, water, tomato paste and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Stir in cashews. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro.