At long last, a butter 'chicken' that vegetarians can enjoy! This dish pairs a traditional rich, spiced murgh makhani sauce with rice pilaf and plenty of protein. No chook!






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (20 votes)


Rice pilaf

  • 400 g (2 cups) basmati rice
  • 50 g ghee
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 2 tsp toasted cumin seeds, ground
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 100 g ghee
  • 2-cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 250 ml (1 cup) tomato passata
  • 300 ml cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Turmeric eggs

  • 8 free-range eggs, 60 g each, at room temperature
  • 100 ml peanut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 10 g salt

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.


  1. For the rice pilaf, preheat the oven to 170ºC. Rinse the rice repeatedly until the water runs clear. Heat the ghee in a saucepan with a close–fitting lid over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes or until soft. Add the drained rice and stir to coat in the ghee. Add the remaining ingredients and 750 ml (3 cups) water and stir to combine well. Bring to the boil, then cover, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, for the sauce, add the spices to a dry frying pan and toast for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the ghee, then the ginger, garlic and green chilli and stir until fragrant. Add the tomato passata, cream, salt and sugar and simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened and reduced to a nice sauce consistency. Stir in the lemon juice.
  3. For the turmeric eggs, choose a saucepan in which you’ll be able to fit the eggs in one layer (or do this in two batches). Add enough water that will just cover the eggs and bring to a rolling simmer (you don’t want the eggs in the pan at this stage). Using a needle, pin or sharp skewer, prick the eggs on the wider end to allow any air to escape. Carefully add the eggs to the simmering water by using a spoon so they don’t hit the bottom and crack. Cook for exactly 7 minutes, stirring the eggs gently every 30 seconds to centre the yolk. Remove the eggs and immediately put them in a large bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. Leave for 10 minutes, then peel under running cool water.
  4. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the peanut oil, then the bruised garlic and stir until the garlic is golden. Remove and discard the garlic, then add the turmeric and salt and stir to combine well. Add the eggs and move gently around the pan to coat the eggs evenly in the turmeric oil. Cook until the eggs turn a burnished orange colour.
  5. Fluff the rice pilaf with a fork and serve with the eggs and sauce.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.