Butter chicken masala served with Pilaf

Serving 3-4 pax
Preparation Time 1 hr
Skill Intermediate

Chicken marinade
400g Boneless and skinless chicken thigh
2 tbsp Plain greek yoghurt
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Paprika powder
1 Garlic clove, grated into garlic paste
7g Ginger, grated into ginger paste
¼ tsp Salt

Pilaf Rice
220g Basmati rice
375ml Water
80g Frozen peas or mixed vegetable, optional
20g Green chilli, cut into 4
1 tsp Cumin seeds
4 whole Cloves
2 Bay leaves
1 inch Cinnamon stick
1 Star anise
1 tbsp Oil
½ tsp Salt

Masala Gravy (To cook and blend)
1 tbsp Oil
15g Unsalted butter
100g Red onions, cut into wedges and halved
500g Tomatoes, cut into wedges and halved
50g Baked cashew nuts
1 clove Garlic, grated into garlic paste
½ tbsp Chilli powder
1 tbsp Paprika powder
¼ tsp Salt
4 tbsp Water

Part 2 of Masala Gravy
45g Unsalted butter
4 Green cardamom*
1 Bay leaf
1 small Cinnamon stick
½ tsp Cumin powder
2 tbsp Honey
3 tbsp Emborg cooking cream

*Available at your nearest FairPrice store.


Step 1- Marinate the chicken

  •  In a large bowl, add in chicken, greek yogurt, red chilli powder, paprika powder, garlic paste, ginger paste, and salt. Mix well and cling wrap the bowl. Transfer to the chiller and allow it to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Step 2 – Cook the rice (Prepare the rice while the chicken is marinating)

  • Wash and soak rice for at least 15 min. Drain the water and transfer rice into rice cooker. Add in 375ml water.
  • In a pan, heat up oil. Add in all the spices (cumin, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise), green chilli and peas, sauté for 2 mins till fragrance releases.
  • Pour all the ingredients in the pan into the rice cooker. Add in salt.
  • Cook the rice on “white rice” mode.

Step 3 – Grill the chicken

  • In a non-stick pan, heat up 2 tbsp oil. Grill the marinated chicken for 2mins on each side.
  • Once the chicken is fully cooked, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Step 4 – Cook and blend the Masala gravy

  • In a clean pan, add in oil, butter and onion. Cook till the onion turns slightly brown. Add in tomatoes, cashew nuts, grated garlic and cook till it’s fragrant.
  • Add chilli powder, paprika powder, salt and water. Mix it evenly, cook for 10 minutes till the tomato and onion have softened
  • Transfe rinto a large bowl. Use a hand blender or tabletop blender to blend the ingredients into a fine puree.
  • Strain the gravy into another bowl.

Cooking part 2 of Masala Gravy

  • In a clean frying pan, add the butter and the spices (green cardamom ,bay leaf and cinnamon stick) and saute for 10 seconds. Then add the strained gravy, cumin powder and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the grilled chicken, honey and cooking cream into the gravy. Stir and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  • Garnish it with some cream(optional) and it with the Pilaf rice or ready-made Naan.

Recipe Hacks:

  • 2 tbsp of honey can be replaced with 4 tbsp of white sugar. But honey is healthier and makes for a glossier-looking dish.
  • Marinating the chicken with yoghurt is a great way to achieve a tender texture. The acid in the yoghurt will tenderise the meat and lock in the natural juices of the chicken.
  • Basmati rice is a healthy grain that has high fibre content. It is of lower GI as compared to Jasmine rice too.
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