Butter Chicken (light)

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Submitted by bombhand


This is supposedly a "lighter" version of the classic Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani. The recipe was found at http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipedetails.aspx?dishid=8423 and came from the show Eat, Shrink, and Be Merry.

This sauce is really mild, because that's how I like it, and it's super-easy despite having a very long list of ingredients. It will fill your house with the smell of the spices, as well as the outside hallway of your apartment building and maybe the floors above and below you if you forget to turn the fan on above the stove.

Mysticp has also posted a recipe for Chicken_Mahkani to the wiki, which includes a recipe for a marinade, which might work for the chicken called for in this recipe.


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated gingerroot
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 can (28 oz/798 mL) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp cashew/almond butter


  • 1 kg cooked tandoori chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces.

This part can be taken care of a day in advance either by using store-bought marinade or something you've prepared yourself. In a pinch, plain chicken will do, but it's much, much better if you can find the time to marinate it.


File:Bombhand bc1.jpg

As you can see, I did not have reduced-sodium chicken broth. I usually use Amy's, but I didn't want to go to two stores this morning.

  • First, it's convenient to prep your ingredients.

File:Bombhand bc2.jpg

I've combined ingredients according to which step I'm adding them in. Here, from left, you'll see an empty measuring cup; a bowl with the butter; a measuring bowl with the broth, the pepper (and salt if I'd gotten low-sodium broth), and the brown sugar; another bowl with the onions and garlic; another with the ginger, chili powder, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon and cumin; and the drained diced tomatoes. The last three ingredients are added after a long simmer so I didn't bother prepping them here.

  • Get a big, deep skillet or a big saucepan on a medium heat, and melt (but not brown) the butter. Add the onions and garlic, and give them a few minutes to soften up. Add the bowl of spices, and give it another minute or so.

File:Bombhand bc3.jpg

My boyfriend changed a setting on the camera, and since I'm a stupid girl, I just went on ahead, thinking "gee, this camera's not making the sound it usually makes, oh well, click click click" and on with my cooking.

  • Add the tomatoes and the chicken broth/salt/pepper/brown sugar. Here you want to let it simmer for twenty minutes or so. The recipe says to do it with a lid on, but I don't strain my tomatoes vigorously enough so I leave the lid off to let some of the liquid steam off. If you want rice with your butter chicken, here's where you should start it.
  • After it's simmered, either stick an immersion blender in for a bit to get most of the chunks out, or do what I have to do and scoop out a cup of sauce at a time to blend in your stupid tiny useless food processor that your step-grandmother gave you for Christmas three years ago.
  • Once that's done, stir in the sour cream, cilantro, and nut butter. I use almond because I found a huge jar for like six dollars and that seemed like a pretty good deal because I thought almond butter should be like peanut butter and be great in sandwiches or on toast but it's really not.
  • Next, throw in the chicken and it's ready to serve.

File:Bombhand bc4.jpg

I made him fix the camera setting but then it was taking blue-ish pictures. I didn't really use enough chicken because I didn't take as much out of the freezer as I'd thought.

Serve with rice, naan, papadams, or any combination of the three.

File:Bombhand bc5.jpg

Finally, be an idiot and arrange your dinner plate to show off the vegetables with jarred balti sauce and restaurant naan rather than the butter chicken that you made from scratch.


Some posters on the forums have commented that sour cream is not really traditional. I don't know anything about what is or is not traditional, and seeing as how this recipe came from a TV show whose purpose is altering recipes to make them lighter, I wouldn't be surprised to find that this strays from authentic. What I do know is that it tastes pretty good and is very easy to make, and all the spices are adjustable according to your preferences.