Comments: My Indian Love Affair: Chicken Makhani


This was such a delightful read, and the recipe sounds fabulous. Just one little question: how much chicken do you use to make it? : )


I think there must be a pretty significant suburban Indian community out in Schaumburg-land. We ate at Udupi Palace in D.C. (sister restaurant to the one on Devon in Chicago), and they also had a listed location in Schaumburg that apparently didn't pan out.

Great post. I remember that being THE standard dish (along with Sag Paneer) that we had to get when we went out for Indian in Chicago.

Oh, by the way - you want rice with that?

Ay-yay-yay! The boy was "helping" me blog and I got distracted. Two chicken breasts is what we usually use, though I suspect some dark meat would be even nicer. I'll just pop off and correct that little omission...!

You should make enough rice for two. I don't post How to boil rice recipes. (Mainly because I'm sure someone is going to call me on it and tell me I don't know how to make rice properly.)

Actually, you could also follow the instructions in Floyd's India, as posted by me here:

Floyd's Jodhpuri Pulau

It is just fine with plain basmati rice too, though.

Barrett has just written me privately to say:

Oh come on! Don't you remember the ordering ritual? Never, ever mention rice when you order and they will almost INSIST you get rice.

Which made me laugh. Because it's true I had forgotten the fact that I always refused to order rice with my curries in Chicago, feeling that the bread was nicer and enough starch for any meal. "Rice?" the waiter would say. "No rice" I would answer. "No rice?" he would repeat in disbelief. "No rice!" And he would wander away, shaking his head. This little drama was played out on average once a week in those days...

I very much related to the comment on finding (and keeping) a restaurant with 'decent meat.' And thanks for the SCHOOMBURG tip, as I find it easier to go there than downtown. Sometimes the office even sends me, so I'll have an excuse to visit the India House.

Mmmm... butter chicken... with naan... and aloo methi....

Have you made your own naan yet? It's dead easy.


Great post! I'm vegetarian, but keen to try the recipe for friends. Btw, 'makhani' , from Hindi, translates literally to 'au beurre' or 'with butter'. And, while I'm not an expert, I think you actually wouldn't use ghee for the sauteeing. I've always associated the 'makhani' tag with the addition of cream (or milk, in a fat-conscious world) to a dish.

Ushma, thanks for the tip! I forgot to mention that I guessed that Makhani probably means butter because there are two dishes in my Indian cookbook with Makhani in the title and in both cases the English translation was "x with butter". I'll take away the ghee reference and be glad I've been doing it (mostly) correctly!

Elizabeth, I haven't yet made my own naan and I definitely need to get on the ball and do so - the ones I bought at the store were dry, tasteless and cakey. Ick!

Ushma got to tell you that makani means "avec buerre." ;-)

Here's a little history lesson on murgh makani--it is an authentic dish from the time of the Mogul Empire in northern India, which means that cuilinarily speaking, its deepest roots trace back to Persian cuisine. A lot of the really rich, yogurt, butter and milk-laden dishes we get in Indian restaurants in the West came originally from the cooking of the Mogul courts.

So, no, it is not an inauthentic curry made to a Westerner's palate at all. It is the royal palace cookery from a long-ago Empire.

Barbara, I thought you would know! I'm going to have to get a Persian cookbook obviously because this is the kind of Indian food I like best!

Just for you, Meg, I posted a baker's dozen of my favorite cookbooks on Tigers & Strawberries last night.

Among the Indian, Chinese, Cuban, Italian, Mexican and Jamaican cookbooks--there is a Persian one. ;-)

One thing about Persian food and the Persian-influenced Indian food. Persian food uses fewer spices--there is much use of nuts, fruits, seeds, herbs and some spices in Persian food, but the heavier use of spices happened when the Moguls came to India, and got a taste for the native spices.

So, while you will most likely love Persian food (I do), if you want the spices, too, go for a Northern Indian style cookbook.

Or, one of each. That's the way I would go!

Thanks Barbara - I have just read your post and am tempted to bookmark it so I can keep going back each time I need a new inspiration. If I limit myself to one cookbook a month (surely enough even for an enthusiastic coook) I'll have material to keep me inspired for over a year!!

Hi Meg,
I was so happy to read your post on Indian food in Paris. I've also been frustrated with finding good Indian food here, so I was glad to see that it wasn't just me! I will definitely be trying this recipe. My husband just made me a fantastic curry with cashews that I'll be posting about soon. Thanks again for the advice...perhaps I'll seek out my neighborhood Indian resto again!

Hey, I know what you mean about Indian food being bland in Paris. It was frustrating though we never thought of ''cultivating'' a few of them...But we got over the problem by making all our curries ourselves. And now, we prefer to eat in our own curry house - chez nous!

I thoroughly enjoyed the end result - this is what I expect butter chicken to taste like!
A question - do you add the onions/shallots back in at some point?

OOOPS. Yes, with the spices. I'll correct the recipe...this is why cookbook writers have editors, right??

; )

Makhani does mean butter.

Actually, I just made this today and it turned out really good. I've always loved Chicken Makhani and took me quite a while to make it perfect.

Now I'm working on Nihari...

I've just made this for the second time and found it to be a very close replica to my favorite Chicken Makhani dish at Amol India in Cincinnati, Ohio. I absolutely love it and if it weren't for the cream, I'd eat it much more often!

As a slight modification, I make and use cooked chicken from my chicken tandoori recipe in it in place of cooking the chicken in the spices. My kids (3 yrs. & 18 mos.)will eat the chicken tandoori but not the makhani. :-)

It's wonderful, satisfies a craving when I can't get to Amols and I love it! Thanks for posting it!

Major question--when do you add the raisins. My husband and I had chicken makhani at a new Indian restaurant here in Cincinnati. I'm excited to try it at home. I love it served with the raisins and they are always juicy. Are they added with the almonds or do you add them at the end as a garnish?

Major question--when do you add the raisins. My husband and I had chicken makhani at a new Indian restaurant here in Cincinnati. I'm excited to try it at home. I love it served with the raisins and they are always juicy. Are they added with the almonds or do you add them at the end as a garnish?

Add the raisins with the cream, if you are including them. I love them but my dear Critic does not, so I usually just sprinkle a few over my own portion, but if they simmer a few minutes with the creamy sauce they will plump up a little and be even nicer!

Thank you! I looked all over the Web for a good chicken makhani recipe that would resemble the dish I used to eat in Evanston. And your version works!

i just thought that i would let you know?
i am from a town called treharris in south wales and there is an indian there that sells chicken makhani and it is absolutely gorgeous i will try ur recipe and if your near here i suggest you try it

Fabulous. I've been craving Butter Chicken like crazy ever since moving to my particular neck of the woods -- I've been buying a jar version but this looks superb.

When I first discovered Butter Chicken I couldn't belive how great this dish tasted. Although it doesn't seem as exotic as most food you get in Indian and Pakistan restaurants it's the one dish which has stopped me from trying all the other dishes at my favourite Indian restaurant. For other dishes I visit other places.

If anyone of you ever come to Oslo / Norway the place you should visit is called Gate of India which lies at Majorstuen. They make a fantastic butter chicken there.

On to your recipe. I'm going to try this one today. I've tried a lot of variations but noone has really lived up to my expectations. This one looks very close to "the one".

My boyfriend was jonesing for Butter Chicken, but his local indian place didn't have it on the buffet. So I said I'd make it for him. We're eating it right now and it is awesome. He says its not quite like his favorite, but is exactly like this other place and it is very very good no matter what. Thanks!

(We live in Naperville, and I went into our new local Indian Mart to get the chili powder - It was hilarious, because I was the only non-Indian in the place. However, they were serving awesome samoases and everyone in line bought some, so I did too, and we scarfed them down. :)

The recipe and resulting picture look YUMMY!

Question, since you mention that the reciep serves two: do you mean two WHOLE chicken breasts or two chicken breast halves?

Thx for sharing this with the masses :)

I mean halves, i.e. about 250 grams!

check out dozens of exciting butter chicken recipes Click here

I love butter chicken. And, for the life of me have struggled to make that really creamy sauce. I add the cream but its just not the same. Tonight, I used your recipe (only doubled). And it was awesome. I did use butter chicken masala I found at the Indian grocers for that taste...but not too spice just heat and a bit of garam masala. It worked out great!

And, I did marinate in yogurt. First, in the masala for an hour or two. Then, I added yogurt (strained over a cloth for 20 min, and wrung out - thick yogurt). And, added garlic, ginger, garam masala, butter, and oil. Cooked it in the oven first.

OH MY WORD. BEST BEST BEST makhani ever. My husband is not home from work yet...I think my kids are going to finish the pot!! And, they are 2 and 3 years old, lol.

Why shallots and not any old onions? And why cut them into slivers, in thin strips, of you're taking them out anyways? I can never understand all the little detailslike those that can't possibly make a difference in the final outcome. They sound all nice, "slivers" sounds great, but friggin dice any old onion you're taking out anyways and I'm positive you'll get the same result. Get real now.

Joe, the shallots are removed just long enough to cook the chicken and then should be put back in the dish. Why shallots? Because when I wrote the post, I lived in France (as I think is apparent in the discussion of finding decent Indian food in Paris) and shallots were the most common of the onion family to be found. Onions would be fine. I prefer the texture of slivers to chopped, as they tend to melt into the sauce but nothing is written in stone.

I'm not sure, really, why this bothers you so much as I don't think that I came across as some kind of onion and learn.

It's hard to convey just how thankful I am for your recipe. We are in the same boat here in New Orleans. We have Indian restaurants, but they are just OK, and we have a serious need to make it at home. This recipe is PERFECT and is literally the favorite family dinner in our house (reserved for special occasions due to richness). Various family members of all ages have requested that I substitute it for CHRISTMAS DINNER, even. Thank you so much for posting this. We have used the heck out it for years now.

Hi this looks amazing...I've tried 3 recipes so far with no avail :( I've read before that cayenne pepper and chili powder is the same. Is that true? If I use chili powder, is it the american kind? Or Should I use cayenne pepper?

Thank you so much!

Sue, chili powder is typically a mix of ground dried chili peppers, usually including the variety of cayenne. Cayenne is a specific chili variety. It's slightly spicier than chili powder, but the two can be interchanged without too much of a difference. You can find a discussion here:

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