Saroj’s Murgh Mahkni (Butter Chicken)

Serves: 4

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, washed and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh gingerroot,
    peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    (adjust to hot-spicy preference)
  • ⅓ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ⅓ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ cup tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi leaves (fenugreek)
  • 2 tablespoons bell pepper, grated
  • 5 cashews
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup milk, divided into 3
  1. Marinade: In a large glass bowl, mix chicken cubes with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, gingerroot, cayenne, coriander, cumin, garlic, turmeric, pepper, and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum, 24 hours maximum.
  2. Paste: In a wok or deep 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add yellow onion, bay leaf, and cloves. Stir-fry until onion is golden brown. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomato. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of water, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 2-4 minutes. Stir in kasuri methi and bell pepper. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Scrape mixture into a blender. Add cashews, poppy seeds, and ¼ cup water. Whirl to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  3. Combine: Set the same wok or skillet over medium heat. Add marinated chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink on the surface, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in paste, garam masala, and ⅓ cup of milk. Cover and simmer until milk evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in another ⅓ cup of milk. Cover and simmer about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining ⅓ cup of milk. Cover and simmer to desired consistency.
  4. Eat with chappati or poured over basmati rice.


  • You may need more salt. Salt to taste.
  • Turmeric is bright yellow and stains counters, clothes, plastic, etc. Be very careful when handling and clean spills immediately.
  • Use “Kitchen King” brand garam masala if you can find it.