Well, you read the title. This Makhni Chicken is not the sweet Butter Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala popular in most Indian restaurants in the West.
“Makhni” in Pakistan literally means “buttery” having been derived from the Urdu word for Butter called Makhan. But don’t be fooled. Pakistani Chicken Makhni tastes nothing like the sweet Butter Chicken you’ve probably tried in the West because it is not sweet. Makhni is a handi that is made with simple steps that involve simmering juicy chicken pieces in a tomato curry until the oil separates; it’s then finished off with heavy cream, butter and kasuri methi.
You may ask yourself, well you just take out the sugar from Butter chicken and you’re done, right? Well, not really. Chicken Makhni is different and you’ll just have to trust me on this. Since I posted this recipe on my Instagram , it has received almost half a million views. SO many of my followers have tried and loved this Chicken Makhni and so many continue to send me their recreations every single day. It really makes my day. You can follow me on @rookiewithacookie to get my recipes as soon as I create them.
- Use Chicken Thighs because that’s the most forgiving cut of chicken. It stays moist and juicy during the entire cooking time which is needed to cook the masala. I usually don’t recommend chicken breast for my curry dishes because they tend to not be as flavorful and too often dry out. However, if you must use chicken breast, then let the masala cook till step 4 in the recipe card until the oil has separated, then add chicken and let it cook on medium for 10 mins. Follow it up with the final touches: cream, black pepper, butter and kasuri methi.
- Feel free to discard some of the oil after frying if you think it’s too much but reserve at least a 1/4 cup worth because it’s needed to cook the tomatoes and “bhoon” the masala. “Bhoon” is a cooking technique that involves frying the masala on high heat whilst continuously stirring it to evaporate the water and encouraging the oil to separate. Remember that the oil we start out with gets soaked up by the ingredients and must be released to fully cook and enhance the flavors of the dish. It’s a glossy sheen that comes to the surface after all the water has evaporated from the curry.
- I only recommend heavy cream because it not only makes the dish creamy but also adds an instant thickness. Milk and half-and half have too much water content which will only counter all the hard work we put in getting the oil to separate.
Makhni Chicken-It's NOT Butter Chicken
- 1/3 cup oil you can discard a bit of the oil when the chicken changes color
- 1 lb chicken thighs, cubed chicken breast is not recommend
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 3/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/8 tsp garam masala please use sparingly because this has an overpowering taste
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp black pepper ground
- 1/4 cup yogurt lightly beaten
- 3 tomatoes, pureed from a can of "whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves kasuri methi
- Fry chicken in oil and once color changes, add salt and ginger garlic paste.
- Add spices and fry for 3-4 minutes to completely coat the chicken, then add yogurt and mix for another two minutes.
- Puree the tomatoes and pour into the pan. Let the tomatoes come to a boil, then cook covered on medium heat for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the lid, and on high heat, "bhoon" the masala by continuing to stir it until the water completely evaporates and the oil separates.
- Turn the flame to medium low and add the heavy cream along with black pepper and a few green chili slit lengthwise for some more heat. Cover the pan again and low heat, let the makhni simmer for 2 to 3 minutes,
- Finally finsih off with butter and fenugreek leaves "kasuri methi" for fragrance and enjoy with naan.