• Tikka butter chicken with naan (The Chefs' Line)Source: The Chefs' Line

It's no wonder that butter chicken is India's most popular curry and even though there are many spices and ingredients it's all worth it at the end when you dive into a rich curry and mop up all that sauce. The Chefs' Line






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (178 votes)


  • 500 g skinless lean chicken thigh fillet, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 60 g butter
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • Banana leaves and edible flowers (marigolds), to serve


  • 450 g (3 cups) high protein plain flour or bread flour
  • 7g sachet (2 tsp) rapid rise dried yeast
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 185 ml (¾ cup) warm water 
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) Greek-style yoghurt, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra, for greasing 
  • 3 tbsp finely grated garlic
  • 2 tbsp nigella seeds
  • 1 ½ cups coriander leaves
  • 30 g ghee, melted


  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger 
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh turmeric
  • 1-2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1-2 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1-2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp gram masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest 
  • Pinch of tandoori colour
  • 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt

Butter sauce

  • 1-1½ tbsp light vegetable oil
  • 20 g butter
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 80 g (½ cup) raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained
  • 4-5 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1-2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1-2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1-2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 500 ml (2 cups) boiling water
  • 125 ml (½ cup) thickened cream
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves


  • 200 g (1 cup) basmati rice, washed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ghee

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.


Preheat the oven to 65˚C.

For the naan, sift the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix well. Add the warm water, yoghurt and oil. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until smooth, firm and springy. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and set aside in the oven (or a warm place) for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, for the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a large airtight plastic container. Add the chicken pieces, combine well, then cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

For the butter sauce, heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent but not brown. Add the garlic, ginger, drained cashews, tomatoes and tomato paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the spices and boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Transfer to a blender or use a stick blender and process until a smooth paste forms. Strain and set aside.

For the rice, place 500 ml (2 cups) water in a small saucepan with a lid. Add the rice, salt and ghee and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.

To cook the naan, punch down the dough, then divide into 6 portions. Using a rolling pin, roll out each portion of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12 x 20 cm oval shape. Sprinkle one side of the naan with garlic, nigella seeds and fresh coriander leaves, gently roll and press into the dough. Heat a heavy-based non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Gently press one naan into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes or until puffed and bubbles appear on top. Turn the naan around and cook for 1 minute or until slightly charred. Brush the top with ghee and wrap in foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat 20 g butter and 1 ½ tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Cook the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes on each side or until almost cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another 40 g butter to the pan and when melted, add the strained butter sauce and fry for 3-4 minutes. Gradually add half cream and honey, checking for sweetness before adding the remaining honey. Add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Sprinkle with half the fenugreek leaves.

Transfer the chicken to a large serving platter. Swirl the remaining cream through the chicken, then sprinkle with the remaining fenugreek leaves. Serve with the rice and nice, garnished with coriander leaves and edible flowers.


This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!