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Baar Baar Butter Chicken

This recipe for butter chicken with a red pepper-tomato sauce will knock your socks off
Baar Baar Butter Chicken
Jacqui Wedewer

Butter chicken, or murgh makhani, is an Indian dish that was apparently created accidentally in the 1950s when three restaurant owners in New Delhi decided to combine some leftover chicken with a rich, buttery, creamy tomato gravy and discovered that the resulting dish was absolutely delicous. This version is courtesy of the New York City restaurant Baar Baar, located in the East Village.


For the chicken:

  • 2 Pounds chicken thighs (skinless, boneless and fat removed)
  • 3 Ounces garlic ginger paste
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 5 1/2 Tablespoons mustard oil
  • 1/2 Ounce salt
  • 7 Ounces hung curd (or a thick Greek-style yogurt)
  • 1/2 Ounce degi mirch powder (red chile powder)
  • 1/2 Ounce garam masala powder
  • 1 Ounce cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Ounce roasted cumin powder
  • a pinch of kasturimethi powder (dried fenugreek leaf)

For the red pepper makhani or butter chicken gravy:

  • 2 Pounds canned tomato, drained
  • 7 Ounces tomato puree (from the strained canned tomatoes)
  • 7 Ounces roasted red pepper
  • 3 Ounces ginger garlic paste (equal parts garlic and ginger, minced and combined)
  • 3 Ounces cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1 Ounce roasted kasturi methi powder (dried fenugreek leaf)
  • 3 Ounces butter
  • 1 1/2 Ounce tomato paste
  • 1 Ounce degi mirch powder (red chile powder)
  • 1 Ounce honey
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 1/2 Cups double cream (or whipping cream)
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil


For the chicken:

Preheat conventional oven to 300 degrees F. (Alternate instructions for tandoor are below.)

Mix all the dry spices, salt, chopped coriander and ginger garlic paste with hung curd. Add mustard oil and mix well.

Add chicken pieces to the curd mixture and mix well. Keep it in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.

Put the chicken pieces on a sheet pan and cook in oven for 25 minutes. (For tandoor, place chicken on skewer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until done.)

While the chicken is cooking, make the pepper makhani.

For the red pepper makhani or butter chicken gravy:

Roast tomatoes in oven and blend it in a food processor with tomato puree and roasted red pepper to a smooth paste .

Boil cashews in water and puree in a blender.

Add oil and butter in a pan.

Add ginger garlic paste and cook for 10 minutes. Add powdered chile and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add tomato and pepper puree and fenugreek leaf powder and cook for 30-40 minutes over low heat.

Add cream, honey and salt to taste and blend the gravy with a hand blender to get a smooth consistency.

Add cooked chicken pieces to the gravy and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Garnish with microgreens of coriander.