Home ยป Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhini)

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhini)

We’re having company on Saturday night – Gina and her fiance, Nick. 😀 With Gina’s FODMAP diet, I wanted to know what foods I should avoid for her, and any dislikes of Nick’s. Gina wrote back saying no onion, garlic, apples, or honey for her and no salmon and goat cheese for Nick. Easy enough!

I pondered over something healthy, that didn’t need my attention so that I wasn’t glued to the kitchen. I’ll share what menu item I decided another time, but it could involve rice. Doesn’t have to, but could…maybe even should.

So I asked Mr. Prevention over dinner last night, “Should I make rice with suchandsuch dish on Saturday night?” His response was priceless.

“Probably not, you pretty much suck at making rice,” he said.

And while that is 100% factual (and pathetic), there was no shortage of yum-factor in this meal (despite the bad rice). Making Indian food at home can be intimidating, but this, I assure you, is very, very doable. If you’re not one to handle the heat of Indian cuisine, this is an entree for you.

Mr. Prevention loved this dish (me too). He ate SO much as leftovers at lunch on Sunday that he wasn’t hungry for dinner. At which point I was slightly annoyed because I had made some stunning shrimp tacos that were on the weekly menu.

“You can’t get mad at me for eating your delicious Indian leftovers, Nicole.”

Well, shucks. When you say it like that…I guess I can’t.


Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhini) adapted from Closet Cooking and Mrs. Reguerio’s Plate

Chicken Marinade:
1 pound chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 onion, diced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced finely
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Butter Sauce:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
2 cups canned tomato pureed
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (garnish)


At least 24 hours before, place the chicken marinade ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, shake gently to toss together and close tightly. Place in the Ziploc bag in a large bowl. and place in refrigerator until ready to use

Remove the chicken from refrigerator, and heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, and add the chicken marinade into the pan. Cook the chicken until no longer pink, about 7 to 8 minutes

In a small skillet, add a tablespoon of butter, cinnamon stick, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

In the large Dutch oven, add the butter spice mixture, tomatoes, tomato paste and reduce heat to a slow simmer. The sauce will start to thicken, and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the honey, fenugreek leaves, turmeric, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and heavy cream and let it simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve over basmati rice and garnish with chopped cilantro. Yield: 4 servings (not including rice), 4 ounces chicken + sauce each.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 367 calories; 17.3 g. fat; 75 mg. cholesterol; 494 mg. sodium; 20 g. carbohydrate; 3.8 g. carbohydrate; 30.8 g. protein

Result: A mild, sweet Indian dish with a stunning red clay color. You can taste each sweet ingredient: honey, cinnamon, and cloves which are accentuated by the sweet tomato paste and puree. The sinful heavy cream adds a creamy finish that’s worth the additional calories 😉 Enjoy!


Yesterday was suuuuch a busy day. I now have most of the materials I need to start lesson planning and I am officially feeling very overwhelmed about classes starting on the 21st. As in, 3 weeks to organize and lesson plan for 3 classes…go! At least Tuesday is my last day at one of my clinics and I will officially be a 24 hour/week employee (at the clinics) + 13 hours of in-class teaching + the business. On a side note, I have received emails about my business and private practice and I’ve decided to do a whole post on my business and starting a business. It’s coming soon!

I did pound out a miserable 3.1 miles yesterday morning – go me! Morning workouts are not getting easier, but afterwards, I feel SO accomplished. I ran around from meeting-to-meeting yesterday, and I think I drove close to 250 miles. Ouch! Busy day. I told Mr. Prevention I just couldn’t manage dinner-making (didn’t get home til after 7), so we went out for chicken gyros and a beer…just what I needed 😀

I better run…I’m getting to work early so I can leave early for my over-due hair appointment 😉 Girls needs a little TLC every now and then!

Question: What’s one thing you just can’t master in the kitchen?

Rice is my Achilles heel!

Almost the weekend!

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Rachel Palmieri
    September 1, 2011 / 6:33 am

    Buy a rice cooker!!! You just put in the right amount of rice and water, turn it on and ignore it. It’s fantastic! It’s fool-proof ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nicole
      September 1, 2011 / 6:42 am

      I know!! I don’t have room for another unitasker…but it’s really bad, I think I NEED one.

      • Rachel Palmieri
        September 1, 2011 / 7:24 am

        The Black & Decker one I have also steams, apparently…so it’s not really a unitasker! The directions say you can cook meat in it too!

  2. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    September 1, 2011 / 7:12 am

    Rice is something I struggle with as well. I ALWAYS end up with half done/half crunchy or something similar.

    And I also have issues with potatoes. Don’t even get me started!

  3. Gina (The Candid RD)
    September 1, 2011 / 7:31 am

    I LOVE IT! That’s hilarious. Rice is difficult, what can I say? I mean, I use minute rice, so I totally cheat. This meal sounds absolutely amazing. I’m in LOVE with Indian food. Of course I rarely eat it because of the garlic and onion factor, such a bummer.

    Let me know what to bring, food, drink anything! OR both!

    Also, how do you get pictures to show up when you post your blog on Stumbleupon? My blog shows up as the picture, not an actual picture, and it looks strange.

  4. Lindsay @ The Gluten-Free Baker
    September 1, 2011 / 8:37 am

    Eggplant parmesan! I’ve tried to make it at least 5 times and it’s always an epic fail, no matter what I do. I agree with the rice cooker idea – I love mine ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Biz
    September 1, 2011 / 8:47 am

    Hooray for no onions Gina! ๐Ÿ˜€ I was great at making rice. . . on a gas stove. Sadly I’ve had an electric stove for 11 years which I absolutely hate. I either undercooked or overcooked rice.

    So now I have a $7 rice maker from Walgreen’s that cooks any grain from quinoa, brown rice, regular rice to perfection – I just put the right water/rice ratio and set it and forget it.

  6. Samantha @ Bikini Birthday
    September 1, 2011 / 9:00 am

    I would normally not say this because you know how I feel about kitchen appliances that do only one thing, but maybe you need a rice cooker. Pretty much every Asian family I know uses a rice cooker exclusively for making rice (which should probably not make you feel bad for not being able to make a good batch of rice!). I hear they’re worth giving up valuable kitchen real estate for.

  7. Faith
    September 1, 2011 / 9:09 am

    Indian Butter Chicken is one of my absolute favorites…yum! You and Mr P are so cute…definitely hard to get mad when he puts it like that, lol!

    I tagged you in my latest post, Nicole! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Andrea@WellnessNotes
    September 1, 2011 / 11:02 am

    Mr. P is very brave to make such a comment. Even if it’s truthful… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Years ago, I used to have the perfect pot to cook rice in. It always turned out prefect. Not sure what it was. But once the pot got too old, and I had to throw it away, my rice luck ran out. I have a rice cooker, which works fine, but I don’t like using it. It’s just too big, and cleaning it is sort of a pain.

    Your butter chicken looks and sounds fabulous! Who cares about the rice anyway… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a great, great dinner with Gina and Nick!!!

  9. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    September 1, 2011 / 11:17 am

    His response cracked me up! I can’t master anything wok-related. I still try though!

  10. shelby
    September 1, 2011 / 11:21 am

    I feel your pain, I always end up with a crusty layer of rice on the bottom of the pan. Sometimes it’s the simplest foods that are easiest to screw up, somehow…

    Happy haircut! I’m getting mine cut today too!

  11. Krystal R.
    September 1, 2011 / 11:25 am

    Ahhhh yeah Nicole! I”m so happy to hear that dish was loved by you and Mr. P!! Two thumbs on this, it looks absolutely fantastic. NOM!

    I practice a rule when making rice, 1 cup rice = 2 cups water. That’s been my basic method for it, good luck – rice cookers are very helpful, too!!

  12. Leah @ Why Deprive?
    September 1, 2011 / 11:59 am

    Butter chicken is one of the best foods ever. I love it. I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe.

    Also, I suck at making rice too. I just dont have the patience for it.

  13. Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    September 1, 2011 / 1:33 pm

    Haha! I suck at making rice too! I mean, it should be simple, but it’s just not. I need to invest in a rice cooker, only I usually end up with bags of overpriced-frozen rice from Trader Joe’s so would probably never use a rice cooker. This butter chicken does look awesome though! I love Indian food!!

  14. Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life
    September 1, 2011 / 1:58 pm

    Your photos look great of the food! YUM!!!

    I can’t master baking anything. Nothing ever turns out for some reason. This past weekend I followed a caramel recipe to the T, and they still didn’t turn out!

  15. Kristen (swanky dietitian)
    September 1, 2011 / 6:11 pm

    This dish looks just amazing! I love Indian food so I am know I will be making this.
    There are a few things I can’t master. haha. But it might have to be pizza. I’m definitely getting better..but it could be so much better!!
    Have a great time with Gina!

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  18. adrienne
    January 10, 2013 / 7:25 pm

    I can’t make rice in a rice cooker! But I can make it perfect on the stove. I saute my rice in coconut oil until it’s translucent. At the same time, I heat my liquids to almost boiling in a separate pan. Once the rice is translucent, I add green onions and the liquids to the rice, leave on medium heat with a lid. 1 cup brown rice cooks in about 20-25 minutes!

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