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pressure cooker butter chicken

Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice (with Dairy-Free option)

Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice. This recipe for Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice is the super-easy adaptation of my recipe for Authentic Butter Chicken. Butter Chicken is one of my kids’ favorite Indian curries. With this recipe, I simplified the cooking process to be less than 30 minutes, without losing any of that amazing rich flavor.

In my original recipe, I marinate the chicken overnight, grill it and then simmer it in the sauce. In this easier and time saving recipe, I skip the marination, add extra Garam Masala to the sauce, use diced boneless skinless chicken and pressure cook it. As a result, the flavors seep into the chicken and it tastes phenomenal. This recipe is my weeknight-friendly variation that’ll leave you amazed. Try it and enjoy a restaurant style Indian treat, right in the comfort of your home, even on a weeknight!

Instant Pot Easy Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice by Spice Cravings. Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice! This 'Easy Butter Chicken' is a quick & easy "weeknight" recipe. I simplified the butter chicken recipe, cut down cooking time, and still retained that amazing delicious flavor. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Traditional Recipe

In my original recipe for Authentic Butter Chicken, I follow the traditional method and marinate the chicken overnight in yogurt and toasted ground Garam Masala. I then grill it and simmer it in a tomato-cream sauce for a few minutes.   Marinating the chicken makes the chicken moist, juicy, and flavorful.  Grilling it adds a delicious char-broiled smoky flavor to it.  Believe me, all that effort is worth the time it takes to make it. But I was looking to simplify this recipe, so I would be able to make it more often since my kids enjoy it so much. After a few attempts, I finally succeeded, as in, it was approved by the “butter chicken connoisseurs”, aka, my kids 🙂

I skipped the marination step, boosted the flavor of the sauce by adding more garam masala, added smoked paprika to add a subtle smoky flavor, and pressure cooked the chicken so it would take all of those wonderful flavors.

The Origin of Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani, literally means ‘chicken cooked in a buttery rich sauce’. It is an authentic Punjabi dish (North-Indian) that was created in the 1950s, in a super popular restaurant in New Delhi called ‘Moti Mahal Delux’. The founder and chef of the restaurant decided to use left-over Tandoori Chicken (Indian-Spiced Grilled Chicken) in a rich and buttery tomato gravy. Little did he know, that he was creating one of the most popular curry dishes from the Indian subcontinent.

Instant Pot Easy Butter-Chicken by Spice Cravings. Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice! This 'Easy Butter Chicken' is a quick & easy "weeknight" recipe. I simplified the butter chicken recipe, cut down cooking time, and still retained that amazing delicious flavor. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Click here to see some of my other ONE-POT recipes.

Dairy-Free/Lactose-free & Gluten Free:

This recipe can be made dairy-free by substituting the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk. It’s as easy as that. There is no other substitution required. And, this recipe is Gluten-free, which makes it perfect for entertaining as well.

Make it Vegetarian

The base sauce that I make this recipe is vegetarian. So, you can easily switch the protein in this dish and make it vegetarian. You can add Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese), extra-firm Tofu, mushrooms, or, a medley of veggies as well. Check out the recipe for a vegetarian favorite that I make with this sauce,  Paneer Butter Masala, or, Paneer Makhani.

Instant pot paneer butter masala, instant pot paneer makhani

Pairing Suggestions for Easy Butter Chicken


I love pairing Easy Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice! Both these dishes are aromatic and have intense flavor, as a result of which, they compliment each other so well. Basmati rice is cooked in a Saffron infused broth to make Saffron Rice.  Saffron compliments the aromatic and nutty basmati rice and elevates it to an elegant side dish. Click here for the step-by-step recipe of Saffron Rice.

Another popular pairing with Butter Chicken is Cumin Rice (Zeera Rice).

Jeera rice , basmati rice flavored with fried cumin seeds
Cumin Rice (Zeera Rice)

A side of Cucumber Raita really completes this meal. Since this recipe uses warm Indian spices, yogurt balances that warmth and adds a cooling freshness to this Easy Butter Chicken meal.
Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita
Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita

POT-in-POT: Cooking Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice in the same pot

In this recipe, I have cooked everything in one-pot, using the pot-in-pot technique in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot. Since chicken and basmati rice have the same cook time (6 minutes on high pressure), it is a great combination to make in one-pot. Watch the video above to see how easy this process is.  Continue Reading…

Butter Chicken- Authentic & Easy Murgh Makhani

Butter Chicken or ‘Murgh Makhani‘ (literally means Buttery Chicken), is an authentic Punjabi dish that was created in the 1950s, in a super popular restaurant in New Delhi called ‘Moti Mahal Delux’.  The founder and Chef of the restaurant decided to use left-over Tandoori Chicken in a rich and buttery tomato gravy.  Little did he know, that he was creating one of the most popular curry dishes from the Indian subcontinent.

Butter Chicken- Authentic & Easy Murgh Makhani, by Spice Cravings. This instant pot recipe of the authentic Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani is made with cream, butter, chicken, and warm Indian spices. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #curry #indianIt is so popular all around the world that it will be hard to find an Indian restaurant that doesn’t serve this dish.  It’s funny how till date whenever I am inviting non-Indian friends over for an Indian meal, they always expect Butter Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala to be on the menu.

Talking of Chicken Tikka Masala, CTM is the British cousin of Butter Chicken.  So legend goes that somewhere in England, in an Indian restaurant, a customer ordered “Chicken Tikka“- grilled chicken skewers.  He sent it back to the kitchen complaining that it was too dry and needed some sauce.  So, the restaurant’s Bangladeshi chef improvised and made a sauce using a can of tomato soup, Indian spices and heavy cream, dunk the pieces in and finished the sauce with some ‘butter’, and that’s how Chicken Tikka Masala was born.  So, you see how both dishes have a lot in common- both include marinated and grilled chicken simmered in a rich tomato based gravy- one is more creamy (BC), the other, more spicy and tomato-ey (CTM).

Butter Chicken- Authentic & Easy Murgh Makhani, by Spice Cravings. This instant pot recipe of the authentic Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani is made with cream, butter, chicken, and warm Indian spices. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #curry #indianI grew up eating Butter Chicken!  It happens to be my Mom’s favorite dish, and now my kids’ favorite too.  Not so long ago, it used to be quite an intimidating dish to make at home since you could never get it to taste like the “restaurant”.  But years of perfecting this recipe, using quality ingredients and pressure cooking techniques, I can now get that slow simmered flavor at home!  So this one’s for my Mom and my kiddos- a super easy and authentic recipe for Butter Chicken.  Enjoy it with Garlic Naan or simple and fragrant Cumin Basmati Rice and Cucumber Raita (yoghurt dip).

Alternative Uses of the Sauce & Recipe

This recipe is pretty versatile.  You can make it vegetarian by switching the chicken with paneer.  Simply marinate the paneer pieces, broil, them for 2 minutes and add them to the sauce after cooking it, in step 4 of this recipe.  You can make this dish dairy-free by substituting ghee with oil and heavy cream with coconut cream or a thick coconut milk.  I wouldn’t recommend using a fat-free or light version here. You need such little quantity anyway.  I have used this sauce and put pre-made meatballs or veggie balls and you have Malai Koftas ready to impress!

Stove Top Instructions

In this recipe here, I made the Butter Chicken in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot.  But this recipe can be made on the stove-top too. Here’s how:

  1. Follow steps to marinate and broil or grill the chicken.
  2. In a dutch oven or a wide sauce pot, melt butter, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds on medium flame.
  3. Add tomato puree, spices, half the cream and the grilled chicken pieces with their juices.  Stir well and cook on medium flame for about 10-12 minutes, covered. Keep stirring every 2-3 minutes and if your sauce is beginning to look too thick, add 1/4 cup water so that it doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom.
  4. Open the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered.  Adjust seasoning and turn off the heat.  Let is rest for 5 minutes.  Add the remaining cream and garnish with chopped cilantro.  Serve with Garlic Naan or Cumin Basmati Rice and and Cucumber Raita (yoghurt dip).

Butter Chicken- Authentic & Easy Murgh Makhani

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 30 minutes (plus marination time if applicable)

Ingredients

  • Marinade for Tandoori chicken:
  • 1-1.2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs or Breast (fat trimmed and cut in 2 inch pcs.)
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 Red Chili Powder or cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee (olive oil for dairy free)
  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (pureed with hand blender) or 4-5 ripe tomatoes pureed
  • 1 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 Red Chili Powder or cayenne
  • 2 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 2 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar/sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (coconut cream for a dairy free dish)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

1

Marinate chicken This step is optional, but highly recommended. If you don't have the time for it, add an additional teaspoon garam masala in the sauce. Combine all ingredients listed under "Marinade". Add chicken and coat well with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes-4 hours. If you're short on time, broil it right away. Broil the chicken or grill it for 6-7 minutes. We're not cooking it through- just sealing the marinade flavors in the chicken.

2

Prepare sauce For the sauce, heat the Instant Pot on Saute mode. Add butter (or olive oil for a dairy free dish). Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds.

3

Add pureed tomatoes, spices and 1/2 of the heavy cream and stir well. Add grilled chicken pieces with their juices and stir well. Close lid, set valve to Sealing and cook on Manual for 5 minutes.

4

Open the lid after natural release of pressure (NPR). Add the remaining heavy cream and stir well. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with Naan or Cumin Basmati Rice!