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Butter chicken curry

 In Chicken, Curry, Dinner/Supper, Recipes

Butter chicken curry

I have had the most intense curry craving for the longest time. Good curry. Made with good quality spices that form a rich sauce perfect for dunking Naan into. So last weekend when I was too lazy to cook, I decided to go to my favourite curry joint to get us dinner. When I got there, they were closed (!!) so I stopped at a place close to my house and was so bitterly disappointed by their curry. It was bland, underseasoned and incredibly expensive. So I decided that this week I would make my own because after all, home made is always best.

Butter chicken curry  Butter Chicken curry

Butter chicken curry

I made my old favourite, Butter Chicken which is a rich, aromatic tomato-based curry made with tender chicken. I used chicken breasts for this because it’s what I had in the fridge but boneless chicken thighs will also work well. The nice thing about this curry is that it cooks in 30-45 minutes and the marinating can happen overnight and this takes all of 5 minutes to put together. So as far as curry goes, this is a really nice quick one. I served the curry with steamed Jasmine rice and Naan that I made from shop-bought bread dough. I simply rolled balls of the dough into oblong shapes and cooked them in a really hot pan for 1-2 minutes per side until they were cooked through then brushed them with melted butter as they came out of the pan. It was absolutely scrumptious and the leftovers are even better the next day.

Butter chicken curry

5.0 from 1 reviews
Butter chicken curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Curry, Dinner,
Serves: 8-10
For the marinade
  • 2kg Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 200ml Plain yoghurt
  • 2 red chillies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • Thumb size piece ginger, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2x 400g tins whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
For cooking
  • 3 tablespoons oil/ghee
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 100g butter, cubed
  1. In a blender, process the spices, yoghurt, tomatoes, ginger and garlic until completely fine. Pour over the chopped chicken and allow to marinade (I left mine for about 2 hours)
  2. Heat the oil in a hot pot and fry the onions until soft and golden.
  3. Add the garlic and fry for another minute then add the Chicken and all the marinade and allow to come to the boil.
  4. Lower the heat and allow to cook for 30-45 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Add the butter and stir through. Season to taste.
  6. Serve with Jasmine Rice and Naan Bread.


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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 24 comments
  • Maria DC

    Great recipe! Easy to make and delicious even for my 6 and 3 year old! Will be making this again, once we are able to dig out from all the snow that has fallen in DC. I love how easy you made it and especially appreciate the naan (beats the store bought one). The sauce is perfect. Thanks so much for posting this.

    • Alida Ryder

      Oh, how I wish I could experience snow like that Maria. Thanks for your lovely comment, I’m so glad you and your family loved this recipe.

  • Reply

    I just stumbled upon your site as I searched for curry recipes on Pinterest and OMG I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THIS. Especially intrigued that naan is that easy to make! Pinned and will be following your blog. 🙂

  • Heleen

    Alida!! Thank you so much for this winning recipe!!
    I made it last night and it was a HUGE success, and so easy to make.
    Absolutely divine. 😀

    • Alida Ryder

      I am so glad you liked it Heleen! Thanks for the lovely comment.

  • John Tirado

    What is C=clove? I want to make this for the wife.

    • Alida Ryder

      That was just a typo, thanks for pointing it out. I’ve fixed it now.

  • Shen

    All of a sudden I find myself reading in Afrikaans while looking for a curry recipe that reminds me of home (I live in Israel) – In case I had any doubts, now I am definitely making this!

  • Alida Ryder

    Of course! Coconut milk would be lovely.

  • carl

    Can you add coconut milk?

  • Alida Ryder

    Baie dankie vir jou wonderlike comment. Ek is so bly jy en jou gaste het van hierdie resep gehou. Dit bly maar ‘n wenner!

  • M.H.

    Dit is ‘n heerlike resep, dankie Alida. Ek het dit gister vir Sondag-middagete gemaak, kompleet met die naan-brood soos joune, en dit was ‘n wenner! My gaste was skoon ongelukkig toe hulle nog wil eet, maar bloot nie meer kan nie. (En ek sien uit na die oorskiet hierdie week vir aandete). Hierdie resep gaan definitief in my “go-to” resepte versameling in. (Ek het die marinade en hoender al Saterdagaand klaargemaak en in die yskas gesit, so Sondag se kook was sommer in ‘n japtrap klaar) Nogmaals dankie vir jou puik resep (en blog!).

  • Emma

    Have you tried this recipe in the slow-cooker? If so did you need to make any adjustments to the recipe?

    • Alida Ryder

      Emma, I haven’t (I actually don’t even own one, unfortunately) so I won’t be able to give you much advice regarding slow cooking. Perhaps just add more liquid so it doesn’t dry out?

  • Alida Ryder

    I do cover it but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. If you find it to be too thick, simply add a splash of water until you reach your desired consitency.

  • dela

    Once everything is in one pot, and I lower the heat on all of the mixture, do I need to cover it? The mixture seems pretty thick right now and I cannot imagine it getting thicker.

  • Ryan

    Hi, I just wanted to say I saw the picture of this and now i have to make it, but if I may ask what is the herb did you garnish it with in your pictures? And do you put the salt sugar and vinegar in the marinade? Sorry if its there and I’m just missing it. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks

    • Alida Ryder

      I used chopped coriander and yes, all those ingredients go into the marinade! Hope you enjoy it.

      • Andrea

        Did you use white vinegar? Would sherry vinegar work?

        • Alida Ryder

          White vinegar is good because it doesn’t have a very strong flavour but I’m sure sherry vinegar will work just fine.

  • Lauren

    I just want to say that your photography is beautiful! Every time I click on a photo on food sharing sites due to the styling/photography it almost always brings me here! I hope to one day be this talented. Keep it up, it’s very inspiring 🙂

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