DHRUV’s Butter Chicken


Serves 4 - 6


  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed oil, plus extra for drizzling

  • 1 brown onion, chopped

  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 long red chilli, chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 100g butter, chopped

  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder

  • 2 teaspoons freshly made garam masala

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • ½ cup (125ml) thickened cream

  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)

 Pilau rice, naan bread and fresh mint leaves, to serve


  • 800g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm pieces

  • 1 teaspoon freshly made garam masala

  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) natural Greek-style yoghurt


  • A square of kitchen foil

  • 2 pieces of charcoal



  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 6 green cardamom pods

  • 2 black cardamom pods

  • 6 cloves

  • Pinch cinnamon

  • Pinch finely grated nutmeg

  • Salt, to taste


STEP 1.    

To make the garam masala, place the coriander and cumin seeds in a small pan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally for 1-2 minutes or until seeds are lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat.

STEP 2.    

Place the green and black cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle. Gently pound the pods and remove the husks. Add the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg along with the toasted coriander and cumin seeds. Season with salt and pound to a fine powder.

STEP 3.    

To make the chicken tikka, place the chicken in a large bowl. Add a teaspoon of the freshly made garam masala as well as the chilli, ginger, garlic and yoghurt. Mix until combined and the chicken is well coated. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

STEP 4.    

Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the chicken onto a large oven tray that has been greased and lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Remove and transfer chicken pieces into a large bowl.

STEP 5.    

Meanwhile create a little bowl out of kitchen foil by rolling up the edges towards the centre. Place the bowl on top of the chicken. Using tongs carefully heat the charcoal over an open flame until hot. Transfer the charcoal to the foil bowl. Drizzle the extra mustard seed oil over the charcoal to create smoke. Cover the bowl tightly with foil to allow the chicken to absorb the smoke flavour. 

STEP 6.    

Meanwhile heat the mustard seed oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until golden. Stir in the tomato and chilli with 1 cup of water. Cook covered for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally or until tomatoes have broken down and the liquid has thickened.  Remove and cool slightly. Using a hand-held stick blender, blend until smooth.

STEP 7.    

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring for 1 minute or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Stir in the tomato mixture along with the ketchup, sugar, coriander, chilli and another 2 teaspoons of freshly made garam masala. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.

STEP 8.    

Peel back the foil covering the chicken and using tongs, carefully remove and safely discard the charcoal and foil. Transfer the chicken to the sauce, gently stirring to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes.

STEP 9.    

Stir in the cream and fenugreek leaves, if using. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes.

STEP 10. 

Serve with pilau rice and naan bread on the side. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

TIP: You can find dried fenugreek leaves in most Middle Eastern and Asian supermarkets.