Murgh Makhani

Murgh Makhani: A Culinary Delight

Murgh Makhani, or Butter Chicken, is a beloved Indian dish known for its rich, creamy tomato-based gravy and tender, marinated chicken. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through the steps to create this delectable masterpiece in your own kitchen.

Murgh Makhani has its roots in North India, where culinary traditions are as diverse as they are rich. This dish first emerged in the kitchens of the famed Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi during the mid-20th century. It was created by Kundan Lal Gujral, a visionary chef who decided to revamp the classic Tandoori chicken by smothering it in a luscious tomato-based gravy.

The creamy tomato sauce, generously infused with aromatic spices, marries perfectly with tender pieces of tandoori chicken. The result is a culinary masterpiece that beautifully combines sweet, tangy, and spicy notes.

Murgh Makhani
Murgh Makhani


For Marination:

  • 500 grams of boneless chicken pieces
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

For Gravy:

  • 3 large tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi)
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


1. Marinating the Chicken:

  1. Combine the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala, red chili powder, lemon juice, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are well-coated. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or you can refrigerate it for a few hours for enhanced flavor.

2. Grilling the Chicken:

  1. Preheat your grill or grill pan. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto skewers.
  2. Grill the chicken on medium-high heat, turning occasionally until they are cooked through and have a slight char. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove the grilled chicken from the skewers and set aside.

3. Preparing the Gravy:

  1. In a large pan, heat a mixture of butter and vegetable oil.
  2. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté until the raw aroma disappears.
  4. Pour in the pureed tomatoes, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Cook this mixture on medium heat until the oil separates from the tomatoes.
  5. Reduce the heat and add fresh cream, stirring continuously. Allow the gravy to simmer for a few minutes.

4. Combining Chicken and Gravy:

  1. Add the grilled chicken pieces to the gravy. Simmer them together for 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  2. Sprinkle garam masala and crushed dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi) into the gravy. Mix well.
  3. Adjust the consistency of the gravy with a little water if needed. Remember, it should have a creamy and slightly thick consistency..
  4. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and for an extra touch of richness, you can add a dollop of butter on top.

Tips and Variation

  1. Give your chicken enough time to marinate. The yogurt and spices infuse flavor and tenderize the meat. Aim for at least an hour, but overnight marination is even better.
  2. While an oven works well, cooking the chicken in a tandoor or on a grill imparts a smoky flavor that elevates the dish.
  3. For a smoother gravy, use tomato paste instead of pureed tomatoes. This gives a rich and velvety texture.
  4. Don’t skip the dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi). They add a distinct flavor that is integral to the dish.
  5. Adjust the red chili and garam masala to suit your heat preference. Murgh Makhani should have a perfect balance of spiciness and creaminess.
  6.  Heavy cream is the secret behind the creamy texture. Avoid substituting it wit

6. Serving Suggestions:

Serve your homemade Murgh Makhani hot, with naan, roti, or fragrant basmati rice. This dish pairs exceptionally well with Indian bread or rice, enhancing the overall experience.


Q: Is Murgh Makhani spicy?

It can be adjusted to your spice preference. While it traditionally has a mild to medium level of spice, you can make it spicier by adding more chili powder or green chilies.

Q: How do you make Murgh Makhani at home?

To make Murgh Makhani at home, you generally marinate chicken in a mixture of yogurt and spices, cook it, and then prepare a creamy tomato sauce separately. Afterward, you combine the two and simmer them together.

Q: Can I make Murgh Makhani without dairy (vegan or dairy-free)?

Yes, you can make a dairy-free version of Murgh Makhani by using coconut milk or cashew cream instead of regular cream and vegan butter. It won’t be exactly the same but can still be delicious.

Q: What can I serve with Murgh Makhani?

It’s typically served with naan, rice (such as basmati rice or jeera rice), or roti. Some people also enjoy it with a side of cucumber raita or pickles.

Q: Is Murgh Makhani a healthy dish?

Murgh Makhani is a rich and indulgent dish due to the use of cream and butter. It’s not considered a low-calorie or low-fat option. However, you can make lighter versions with lower-fat dairy or dairy substitutes.

Q: Is Murgh Makhani gluten-free?

The dish can be gluten-free if you ensure that the spices and other ingredients you use are gluten-free. Additionally, serve it with gluten-free bread or rice for a completely gluten-free meal.

Q: Can I make Murgh Makhani in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the dish in advance and reheat it when you’re ready to serve. It often tastes even better the next day as the flavors meld together.

In Conclusion

Now that you’ve mastered the art of making Murgh Makhani, you can enjoy this classic Indian dish from the comfort of your home. Its creamy, flavorful gravy and succulent chicken are sure to make it a family favorite. So go ahead, treat yourself and your loved ones to this culinary delight, and relish the magic of Murgh Makhani!

Murgh Makhani
Murgh Makhani

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