Butter Chicken a la Umma

Image of Butter Chicken

I’d like to start this post thanking everyone who have been visiting my blog and supporting me. It’s a high seeing the site stats shoot up everyday and reading such encouraging comments. It’s given me the push for my second post which is coming much sooner than I had imagined. I started on a sweet note so this time round, I’m cooking a savory and traditional recipe. I don’t think it can get more Indian (actually Punjabi) than with a post of butter chicken.

Image of Cutlery and Napkin

Call it Mugh Makhani or butter chicken, this is my favorite go-to dish at any restaurant serving North-Indian food. My personal favorite is the butter chicken served at Moti Mahal in Abu Dhabi. The restaurant claims to be a chain of the original one in Delhi where butter chicken was first introduced. The chicken is grilled in the Tandoor oven (which is the original method of preparing the chicken for this dish) and then added to a buttery, tangy and sweet sauce. All I need is garlic Naan to wipe out the bowl and I am a happy foodie.

Image of Peppercorns

This is my first request for a post. The husband dearest has been marketing my food blog and was approached by a colleague asking if I’d be willing to share a recipe for butter chicken. I nearly sent out a quick email. On second thought, I decided to make a post of it. It’s been ages since I’ve had my mothers’ butter chicken and Jeera rice, a combination I love. This recipe is what she has put together after trying out a few recipes from her assortment of cookbooks and it’s something I’ve been thinking of making and it’s hasn’t happened. Thanks to Sanaa, I get to make it, blog it, eat it and share it. I hope you like this recipe.

Image of Spice and Powders

The marination of the chicken in ground whole spices is the secret behind a good butter chicken. Traditional recipes use ripe tomatoes as the base to a good curry. This is how mums’ recipe is different. Her version is perfect for a butter chicken which is easy to make and yet, has the fabulous flavor. I read the recipe for the butter chicken made at Ushna, one of Abu Dhabi’s finest Indian restaurant. For a kilo of chicken, they use 5 kilos of tomatoes that are boiled with other spices for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Yes, I read the recipe over and over again and no, I didn’t read it wrong. We had ordered it for husband dearests’ birthday dinner at Ushna. It tasted excellent and makes the elaborate process worthwhile. I prefer the Moti Mahal Murgh Makhani hands down.

When I do have time on my hands, I’d love to try that recipe. If you’d like a challenge too, you can read Ushnas’ version here.

Image of Butter Chicken

Otherwise, here’s the painless preperation for Butter Chicken a la Umma.


  • Chicken (boneless cut into cubes) – 1/2 kg
  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Medium sized onion – thinly sliced
  • Fresh Breakfast Cream
  • Boiling Water – 1 cup
  • Chilli – 2, split lengthwise

For Marinade

  • Peppercorn – 1 tsp
  • Black Cumin – 1 tsp
  • Yoghurt – 1/4 cup
  • Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala – 1 tsp
  • Clove – 3 whole
  • Tomato Paste – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste


  • Grind peppercorn and black cumin till powder.
  • Add remaining dry ingredients of the marinade, including cloves, and grind again.
  • In a bowl, add the yoghurt,tomato paste and ground powders and mix well.
  • Add boneless chicken and salt, making sure the marinade coats the chicken completely.
  • Keep in the refrigerator overnight.
  • An hour before making the curry base, take the bowl outside from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.
  • Heat a saucepan and add butter when it is hot.
  • Once the butter melts completely, add the sliced onions. Ensure the flame is not too high which would then burn the onions.
  • Fry the onions till they are reduced to a dark brown colour.
  • Add the chicken and the remaining marination sauce.
  • Cook the chicken till the sauce reduces and the oil clears (5-10 minutes).
  • Add boiling water, stirring it well.
  • Cover the saucepan and allow the chicken to cook completely until it is tender (15-20 minutes).
  • When chicken is cooked through, stir in the fresh cream and stir gently till it dissolves.
  • Add slit chilli or extra cream on top to garnish.


Overnight marination enhances the flavor of the chicken but it is optional.If you are in a hurry, you can make the marinate the chicken for at least an hour and then follow the same recipe.

Hope you like it Sanaa.

Have a good food day.

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