Posts Tagged 'butter'

Butter Chicken (River Cottage Murgh Makhani)

Indian Spices

This is the best chicken curry I’ve ever tasted and I’ve cooked it quite a few times now.  It’s the curry you make when you want to impress people who won’t eat lamb. Murgh Makhani is the authentic version of the more familiar “chicken tikka masala”. By all accounts, the dish was created at the “Moti Mahal” restaurant in New Delhi as a way to use up the marinade left over in the trays used to prepare chicken tikka. I can’t promise that this recipe is as good as you’d get in the Moti Mahal, but it’s definitely worth trying.

The recipe is adapted slightly from the River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I’ve changed how the chicken tikka is prepared and altered the spicing a little. The result is creamy, rich and spicy. Some plain basmati rice is the only accompaniment you’ll need for this.

Main Ingredients

  • 6 large, free-range chicken breasts
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Tikka Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tsp of the following: chilli powder, sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp of the following: ground coriander, ground fenugreek
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (or 1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger)
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp groundnut/sunflower oil

Tomato Gravy Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 175ml water


  1. The first step is to marinade the chicken. Mix the salt, chilli powder and paprika with the lemon juice in a large bowl and add the chicken breasts. cover and leave to marinade for 30 minutes. (If using “bone-in” chicken, make some slashes before adding to the marinade.)
  2. Mix the remaining marinade ingredients and coat the chicken breasts. Cover tightly with cling film and leave overnight.
  3. Put all of the ingredients for the tomato sauce in a saucepan and bring up to a gentle simmer. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes before straining to remove the whole spices. Cover and set aside.
  4. Transfer the chicken pieces, along with it’s marinade, to a roasting tray. Cover the tray with foil and roast in the oven at 220°C for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 200°C and leave for a further 20 minutes.
  5. Now it’s time to complete the dish by making the makhani sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the ground cumin. Sizzle gently for a minute before adding the tomato sauce and simmering for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken along with it’s sauce/marinade. Simmer until the chicken is warmed through and.

Serves 6.


  • Difference between this version and that contained in the River Cottage Meat Book – Hugh does his marinade in one single step. I prefer to do a two-step (with chilli and lime juice first) because it’s always worked for me and makes the chicken really succulent, even chicken breast fillets. I also use fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) instead of ground fenugreek as it looks good in the finished dish. Hugh also strains his tomato sauce to give a smoother result but I like a bit more texture in the sauce.

Vegetable Makhanwala

The Big 8 – The only curry recipes you’ll ever need!” – Part 6/8

Vegetable Curry

A vegetarian curry? You might think I’ve lost my marbles here, but trust me, this is really good.

I used 2 large carrots, 3 small yellow courgette, 200g green beans, 3 large tomatoes. You could also use broccoli, cauliflower, peas, broad beans, spinach, aubergine or okra. Cooked chickpeas would also work very well with this. Dice the vegetables according to cooking time – for example, carrots should be cut smaller than broccoli etc. Use your own judgment here.


  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower/groundnut oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 x 400g canned tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp of each the following: ground coriander, garam masala, paprika, turmeric
  • 800g fresh vegetables, diced
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 100ml cream
  • 50g butter
  • 3 tbsp honey


  1. Place a large pot or casserole on the hob and heat the oil. Add the onions and cook the onions gently for around 20 minutes until soft and light brown in colour.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry-fry gently for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat.
  3. Blitz the garlic, root ginger, tomatoes and water in a blender until smooth. Remove the browned onions, garlic and ginger from the pot using a slotted spoon and put in a blender. Add the canned tomatoes and a splash of water. Blend until smooth.
  4. Put the casserole back on the heat. There should be some residual oil, but you can add a little extra. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and stir fry for a minute to release the flavours.
  5. Add the onion/tomato mixture to the casserole, then add the ground spices. Add the salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes to cook out the tomatoes and reduce the sauce slightly. Add the diced vegetables along with the dried fenugreek and cook at a gentle simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the veggies are cooked to your satisfaction.
  6. Now reduce the heat and finish the dish by adding the cream, butter and honey. Still well to combine and simmer very gently for a minute before serving. Best served with some chapatti or plain white rice.

Serves 6.

Garlic Butter for Steak

Garlic Butter for Steak

Grind a garlic clove with a big pinch of rock salt, then add it to about 100g of softened butter. Add a grind of black pepper and some finely chopped parsley. Now, here’s a tip I picked up from one of Rick Stein’s programmes: add a little splash of brandy to the garlic butter. Mix well. Goes particularly well with a charred and bloody steak.

A nice variation would be to use a little chopped tarragon instead of the parsley.