Matty Matheson shares his fool-proof, simple recipe for perfect butter chicken.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (730 votes)


  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 birds eye chillies
  • 2 long red chillies
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 thumbs worth ginger, peeled
  • ½ cup (125 ml) ghee
  • 2 generous tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1½ tbsp chili powder
  • 1½ tbsp garam masala
  • 1½ tbsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 3½ cups (785 gm) tomato puree
  • 3 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) chunks (about 1 kg)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) thick (heavy) cream
  • 113 gm unsalted butter
  • fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • cooked Jasmine rice, to serve

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.


Place the olive oil, garlic, chilies, onion, and ginger in a blender and purée until smooth.

Heat ghee in a large dutch oven over medium-high. Add the onion purée and cook until the mixture darkens slightly and softens, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, coriander and cumin and cook for 5 minutes, or until dark and sticky. 4. Add in 1½ cups water. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the tomato puree and fenugreek leaves and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 1 hour. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes more.

Add the cream and butter and stir to combine. Season with salt and serve garnished with fresh coriander (cilantro) with steamed Jasmine rice.