“I’m certain that butter chicken must be just about everyone’s favourite curry.  Please don’t be put off by the very long list of ingredients because the process is in fact very simple, and at the end you have a luscious dish beautifully balanced with a refreshing raita and buttery rice, stained golden by the earthy flavour of turmeric.” Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (801 votes)


  • 500 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into large pieces (see Note)


  • 1 tbsp natural Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar             


  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 fresh long green chilli, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 7 cardamon pods, crushed
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 400 ml tomato passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 70 g (¼ cup) natural Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 125 ml (½ cup) thin cream
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste


  • 280 g (1 cup) natural Greek-style yoghurt
  • ½ long cucumber, roughly grated and squeezed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt, or to taste

Turmeric rice

  • 20 g butter
  • 400 g (2 cups) basmati rice
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 750 ml (3 cups) water

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time 3 hours or overnight

Cut small slashes widthways along the chicken pieces, taking care not to cut all the way through.  

To make the marinade, mix the yoghurt, lemon juice, garam masala, chilli powder, salt and sugar in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl. Transfer to a snaplock bag, then add the chicken and rub to coat well with the marinade. Push all the air out of the bag, seal and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Line a baking tray with foil.

Place the chicken on the lined tray and roast for 15 minutes or until the outside is slightly charred. Set aside.

To make the sauce, process the onion, ginger, garlic, chilli and water in a blender to form a smooth paste. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon stick and cloves. Toast until fragrant, then add the onion paste and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the cardamom, nutmeg, fenugreek, bay leaves, black pepper and chilli powder (if using) and cook for 3 minutes or until well combined and fragrant. Then add the tomato passata, tomato paste and Greek yoghurt and stir to mix well. Add the chicken and stir to coat with the sauce, then stir in the honey and cream. Bring to a simmer, then cook over low heat for 1 hour. Taste and season with salt and extra honey, if desired.

Meanwhile, to make the raita, mix the yoghurt, cucumber, lemon juice, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.

To make the turmeric rice, melt the butter in a heavy based non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and turmeric and toast, stirring for 3 minutes or until the rice is evenly coated with turmeric. Add the water, stir and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the rice to stand for 5 minutes, then fluff the grains with a spoon or fork.

Serve the butter chicken with the turmeric rice and raita.



• I like to cut slashes along the thighs, as this allows the marinade to penetrate the flesh.

• You can add a spoonful or so of ground almonds to the sauce to thicken it further, if you like.


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.

Poh & Co. 2 Thursdays at 8.30pm on SBS.


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