Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) is an enormously popular dish that you will find served in practically every Indian restaurant around the world. Tender chicken in a rich and creamy sauce with bold flavors that are vibrant and complex. This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated uses the broiler to imitate the deep charring produced by a tandoor oven and has a perfect balance of spices including garam masala, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. The serrano chile adds just enough heat, but if you want the dish even hotter, mince, and add the ribs and seeds from the chile. Serve with Basmati Rice and warm Naan bread.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled, divided
1 onion, chopped fine
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ cups water
½ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons table salt, divided
1 cup heavy cream
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is softened and onion begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garam masala, coriander, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
2. Add water and tomato paste and whisk until no lumps of tomato paste remain. Add sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Off heat, stir in cream. Using immersion blender or blender, process until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Return sauce to simmer over medium heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
3. Remove saucepan from heat and cover to keep warm. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days; gently reheat sauce before adding hot chicken.)
4. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Combine chicken, yogurt, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in bowl and toss well to coat. Using tongs, transfer chicken to wire rack set in aluminum foil—lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until chicken is evenly charred on both sides and registers 175 degrees, 16 to 20 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through broiling.
5. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes. While chicken rests, warm sauce over medium-low heat. Cut chicken into ¾-inch chunks and stir into sauce. Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro and season with salt to taste. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro, and serve with rice and/or naan.