One of the first and immediate associations of Indian cuisines worldwide is with the evergreen Butter Chicken. A perfect blend of tender chicken, masala, cream, and butter aka Makhan, Butter Chicken is a blessing in disguise to Indian cuisine. It is one of the most ordered and relished dishes in chicken across the country. While chicken, the main ingredient of the dish, makes it favourable, it is the curry of the dish that takes away the cake. Although the traditional way to savour butter chicken is with rice or naan, how about giving a tastier twist to devouring Butter Chicken? It is time to ditch the normal and bake Butter Chicken into a pastry.

The Rich Buttery Origin

This popular dish, which also goes by the name Murgh Makhani, came into existence in the 1950s in Delhi. Believe it or not, the discovery of this world-famous dish was by chance. In the early 1950s, Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, founded by Kundan Lal Jaggi and Kundan Lal Gujral, was a rage for serving the best tandoori items in the newly partitioned India. Legend has it that the chefs of the restaurant at the end of the day would just mix the leftover marinade juices with butter and tomato, and then simmer the tandoor-cooked chicken in it. 

However, this dish soon became so popular that people from across the town and state would line up just to dig into a bowl of this buttery spicy chicken dish. At that time, this chicken dish made by chance came to be known as Murgh Makhani - murgh meaning tandoori chicken and makhani meaning butter.

Finally, after years of this chicken dish invention, in 1974 a recipe was published for Murgh Makhani. And by 1975, the English phrase ‘Butter Chicken’ curry was coined, appearing in print. Thanks to the Gaylord Indian restaurant in Manhattan, which gave this internationally renowned dish its English name.

Over the years, Butter Chicken has travelled the world. Toronto and the Caribbean use this as a pizza, poutine, wraps, or roll filling, whereas in Australia and New Zealand it works best as pie filling. Here’s the recipe for Butter Chicken Pastry.

Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts

200 ml yoghurt

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp chilli powder

1 lemon juice

2 garlic cloves

1 tbsp coconut oil

Salt

For the sauce:

1 tbsp coconut oil

3 tbsp tomato purée

2 garlic cloves

Ginger

1 chilli

100 gm unsalted butter

200 ml double cream

20 gm coriander stalks

320gm puff pastry

1 egg (beaten)

1 pinch garam masala

A pinch of coriander and chilli powder

Method:

1. Marinate the chicken in yoghurt, garlic, spices, and lemon juice. Leave it overnight or at least for an hour.

2. In a pan add ginger, garlic, coconut oil, chilli, and finely chopped coriander stalks. 

3. Sauté this all for a minute then add in the spices and tomato purée. Once this is combined, add the butter. 

4. Stir all well, add the cream and lower the heat.

5. In another pan, add butter and cook the chicken for about 8 minutes. 

6. Once done, add the chicken to the gravy pan. Now cook this until the gravy thickens.

7. Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the puff pastry 1 ½ cm thick. Use a bowl to cut four circles out of the sheet.

8. Now, spread Butter Chicken on half of the circles, fold the other half, and seal.

9. Place on a baking tray, and prick on the top before the egg wash. 

10. Bake for 18 minutes, until golden and crisp.

There is no fixed time and day to relish the richness of Butter Chicken nor is there one particular way of scooping it. While the authentic preparation involves marinating the chicken overnight, some variations just throw in some tandoor cooked chicken in rich butter gravy.