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Butter Chicken with Mango Chutney

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Butter Chicken with Mango Chutney

One of my favorite recipes from my new cookbook, and a staple menu item in many Indian restaurants in the U.S., butter chicken was supposedly created when a restaurateur in India combined leftover chicken with a tomato sauce enriched with butter and cream. Traditionally, the chicken for this dish is marinated in yogurt, lemon, and spices and then cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor. To save time and make the dish home cook-friendly, I sauté unmarinated, seasoned chicken in a skillet and then briefly simmer it in a creamy, spice-infused tomato sauce. This results in ultra-tender chicken. In fact, one of my recipe testers remarked that this must be called “butter chicken” because the chicken is so tender, it’s like “buttah!”

Along with basmati rice or naan, I love a little mango chutney on the side; it adds a delicious gingery sweetness that complements the chicken.

What You’ll Need To Make Butter Chicken with Mango Chutney

butter chicken ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the chicken pieces evenly with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the garam masala; toss to coat evenly.

tossing chicken with salt and garam masala

Add the flour.

adding flour to seasoned chicken

Toss again, making sure the chicken is well coated.

tossing seasoned chicken with flour

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the oil over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot and shimmering, add the chicken in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until the chicken is lightly golden on the underside, about 3 minutes.

browning chicken on first side in skillet

Using tongs, turn the chicken pieces over and cook until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Using the tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside while you make the sauce (you’ll use the skillet in the next step—there’s no need to wash it).

browning chicken on second side in skillet

Melt the remaining tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

adding ginger and onions to skillet

Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne (if using), and remaining teaspoon of garam masala; stir and cook 1 minute more.

adding spices to ginger and onion mixture

Add the tomato sauce, cream, sugar, pepper, water, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

adding cream, tomato sauce, and seasoning

Add the chicken along with any accumulated juices, to the sauce.

adding the browned chicken to the sauce

Simmer a few minutes, until the chicken is warmed through.

simmering the chicken in the sauce

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle with the cilantro, if using.

adding cilantro to butter chicken

Serve with basmati rice and mango chutney.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

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