Butter chicken for the strong hearted

The recipe for Butter chicken is actually a dual recipe – one of the tandoori chicken and the other for the makhani gravy or the butter gravy – the mother of all north Indian –mughlai sauces.This was invented in motimahal by the founder Kundan lal Gujral .As goes the old saying necessity is the mother of all inventions – it was mere need to sell the chicken tikka , which went a little dry hanging by the side of hot tandoors that lead to the invention of this makhani gravy , so that the chicken could be sauted in this sauce to over come the poor tikka`s dry spell .

As goes the old riddle “ whether the egg came first or the chicken “ it is hard to tell but in the case of butter chicken and tandoori chicken , it is the tandoori chicken which hatched before the butter chicken .

So lets see how to cook the tandoori chicken first and transform it into the Butter chicken later.

First is the -recepie for the tandoori chicken (FROM MY BOOK MOTIMAHAL`S TANDOORI TRAIL). Then we make the makhni sauce alias butter gravy.



  1. Tandoori Chicken Process- Make two deep incisions each on breast and the drum sticks.
  2. For the first marinade- mix all the ingredients in a bowl and rub all over the chicken and keep aside for 1 hr.
  3. For the second marinade – mix all the ingredients in a bowl and rub on the chicken pieces and keep for at least 3 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven at 180 deg. Place the chicken on the grill rack , place the tray underneath to collect all the drippings. Grill for 8-10 minutes .
  5. Brush with oil , turn upside down and grill for 3-4 minutes till tender. Remove from the grill and keep aside.
  6. For the Makhni Sauce- Take a pan , put oil and heat it over fire. Put onion and sauté for few seconds.
  7. Put chopped tomatoes , bayleaf and salt in the pan and let it simmer , stirring occasionally till the oil sepearates from the sides.
  8. Strain the sauce. Pour in a pan and heat over fire. Add all the spices. Add in the Tandoori Chicken , stir for a 3-4 minutes.
  9. Add butter and stir till it melts in cream and remove quickly. Garnish with green chilies and coriander with a drip of cream.

Monish Gujral

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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