• Anjum Anand's butter chicken favourite. (Essence of India)Source: Essence of India
No matter where you're at right now, butter chicken is here for you.
26 Aug 2021 - 12:19 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2021 - 12:19 PM

There's something about butter chicken. It's those smooth, rich and meltingly-tender lines. The sunset colours pooling across the plate. The way its sweet, creamy nature is pulled up by a hit of spice before it gets too cloying.

It's a generous and popular dish, no doubt about it. It's been that way since it was born (so the story goes) in a dhaba in Punjab in the 1920s. The owner Kundan Lal Gujral, and his cook Kundan Lal Jaggi came up with the recipe for butter chicken when a large group of refugees arrived in the restaurant. The pair didn't have enough tandoori chicken to feed the masses, so they added a gravy using what they had on hand to make the dish stretch. In went tomatoes, butter and spices and butter chicken was born.

With bread
7 ways to mop up your next Indian curry
Naan is far from your only option: wield your mopping power with this fine selection.

Butter chicken hits the spot when the weather is hot or cold, or simply when it can't make up its mind. It can be frantically pulled together in mere minutes after rushing in the door. Or bubble for hours and hours in the slow cooker, beckoning hungry taste buds all day. 

Whatever your mood, whatever your day, butter chicken likes you very much. We're pretty sure you're going to like it back.

The extra-creamy one that Anjum made

Anjum Anand's butter chicken favourite.

This version throws in both garam masala and cashew cream, plus a heap of double cream. It's best eaten with a plain piece of naan or pita bread and steamed rice. Anjum reassures you not to worry if you don’t have every single spice.

The one for when you're a little time poor

This butter chicken has a long cook time, but a super-fast prep time. Everything is done in one pot, too. Which wins this dish about 1000 extra brownie points.

The even easier one for busier days

If an hour waiting for the stove to do its work is time you do not have, make Nige's recipe instead. It's faster and is ready in 40 minutes, 10 minutes of that is all in the marinating time (aka put your feet up, you've earned it time).


The one that adds mint yoghurt



If you've never added a minty twist to your butter chicken, get on it. A minty yoghurt finisher is just the thing for elevating an everyday curry to a special occasion dish. And that special occasion is any given weeknight.

The one without chicken

Vegos rejoice! Adam Liaw's clever recipe brings all the rich flavour of a traditional butter chicken, but it's made with eggs instead. Actually, we should probably confess that this dish doesn't actually contain butter either...

The one for vegans

No chicken, no butter, no eggs (see above), no cream - yes flavour. Lots and lots of flavour.

The one with plenty of coconut

Another flavour-packed butter chicken, but this time we're going heavy on the coconut milk. It adds a lovely softness to the gravy and balances the cardamom and other spices so well.

Add some naan
Easy naan bread

These are fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside - exactly what you want from a naan.

Naan breads

Naan breads are traditionally baked in a clay oven, giving them their distinctive burnished exterior and fluffy interior. To get a similar result at home, I use a combination of baking in the oven and charring over an open flame.

Naan bread

Flatbreads are simple to make, but delicious.

The one that's grilled

This butter chicken is quite a stretch from the original, but as we are seeing here, our favourite curry is nothing if not versatile. What it lacks in gravy, it makes up for in char.

The one that Poh made

Poh agrees with us that butter chicken is everyone's favourite curry. Especially when served with refreshing yoghurt raita and turmeric rice.

The extra-creamy one

The one wrapped in pastry

Yep, this recipe goes there. Heaven is surely a butter chicken naan bread parcel.

Butter get curried away
Sri Lankan chicken curry

This Sri Lankan curry is rich, creamy and very comforting. Grinding the spices yourself will give it a bolder flavour and complements the lemongrass and ginger beautifully.

Peanut butter curry

A mild coconut milk and peanut butter chicken curry that's creamy, rich and oh-so-comforting!

Massaman curry with beef (gaeng massaman nue)

This recipe is an ancient recipe from central Thailand, where the gaeng massaman is cooked with various Thai herbs and finished with a significant amount of curry broth to be enjoyed with rice.

Potato curry with snapper

Using potatoes from Mallee grower Peter Corcoran, Stefano cooks a mild Indian-inspired fish and potato curry that highlights the spud. You can use any firm-fleshed fish for this recipe.

Japanese curry sausages

Curried sausages have been an Aussie family favourite for decades, but have you ever tried them with a Japanese twist?

Crab curry with naan

This is a cooking-from-scratch recipe: you’ll make a fresh curry paste, cook a whole crab, and – optional, but recommended – make fresh naan to soak it all up.

Grandma's lamb curry

This curry recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mum and it is utterly delightful. 

Noor’s Rohingyan beef curry

The kitchen is where Rohingyan women made a name for themselves and when it comes to beef curry, my mum's is second to none!

Young jackfruit curry

Jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world. Depending on maturity of the fruit, it can be cooked in different ways, including this fragrant curry.

Fish head curry

Fish heads have a surprising amount of meat and flavour. Once you cook them, you'll never want to let them go to waste!