Traditional Butter Chicken – The History And The Recipe
Image Credit: Butter chicken is one of the most popular chicken dishes in the world | Unsplash

Are you tired of the same old chicken recipes that leave your taste buds feeling bored and uninspired? Well, hold on to your aprons, folks, because we've got a recipe that will knock your socks off – traditional butter chicken! This iconic Indian dish has been enjoyed for generations and is loved for its rich and creamy tomato-based sauce that's infused with a blend of aromatic spices. And let's not forget about the tender and juicy chicken pieces that melt in your mouth with each and every bite.

But this isn't just any butter chicken recipe – this is the real deal, passed down from generations of Indian grandmothers who knew a thing or two about good food. And trust us, they didn't skimp on the butter!

So, get ready to take your taste buds on a wild and delicious ride as we delve into the world of traditional butter chicken. From the history of the dish to the step-by-step recipe instructions, we've got you covered. Tie on your apron, grab a glass of wine (or a cold beer, we don't judge), and let's get cooking! 

History of butter chicken

The origins of butter chicken are disputed, but there are a few different theories about how it came to be.

One story is that the dish was created in the early 1900s by a chef named Kundan Lal Gujral in the city of Peshawar, which was then a part of British India and is now in present-day Pakistan. Gujral was the owner of a restaurant called Moti Mahal, which was known for its tandoori chicken. Legend has it that Gujral came up with the idea for butter chicken when he decided to repurpose the leftover chicken by cooking it in a tomato-based gravy with butter and cream. 

Another theory is that butter chicken was created in the 1950s by a chef named Lala Jagannath, who worked at a restaurant called Kwality in Delhi. According to this story, Jagannath accidentally overcooked some chicken and decided to salvage it by cooking it in a gravy made with tomatoes, butter, and cream. 

Regardless of which story is true, there is no doubt that butter chicken quickly became a popular dish in India and beyond. It was especially popular among the Punjabi community, who were known for their love of rich and flavourful food.

Recipe credits -  All Recipes Hub

Butter chicken – the traditional way


For the marinade

  • 500g boneless chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste

For the gravy

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), for garnish


  • In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade and mix well. Add the chicken pieces and coat them evenly with the marinade. Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. Skewer the marinated chicken pieces and grill them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken on a grill pan or in a tandoor oven.
  • Heat butter and oil in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin and coriander seeds and fry until fragrant. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree, salt, sugar, and garam masala powder and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the grilled chicken to the gravy and mix well.
  • Pour in the cream and mix until well combined. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the gravy thickens slightly.
  • Crush some kasuri methi between your palms and sprinkle it over the butter chicken. Serve hot with naan, rice, or roti.

Enjoy this delicious and authentic recipe for butter chicken that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next dinner party or family gathering!