Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

September 09, 2009

Recipes ›


Folks...here it is. After four tries I think this is as good as I am going to get it. I really hope some of you will try this recipe in your own slow cookers and tell me how it turns out. I need feedback on directions (how clear they are) and cooking times. And - of course - taste taste taste taste!!!!!!!!

Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)
Cooker: 5-quart medium
Settings, cooking times: low for 6 hours, makes 13 cups

Butter chicken is one of those dishes that has become synonymous with Indian food outside of India. I personally never grew up eating it. In fact, until I got married and we started ordering more take out from local Indian restaurants, I really hadn’t really tasted the dish. Regardless, who can say no to butter anything? Especially chicken?

After much research I found that there are many ways to make butter chicken. Some call for the chicken to be pan fried in butter before putting it into the sauce. Some call for cashews instead of almonds. I went with a recipe in one of my favorite Indian cookbooks, A Little Taste of … India and adapted it for the slow cooker.

If you make this dish and wonder why it doesn’t really look like the butter chicken you eat in most restaurants, congratulations, you’ve made it correctly! Most mainstream Indian restaurants serve tandoori chicken smothered in butter and cream as a poor substitute for the dish. On top of this, they add unhealthy food dyes for color. I won’t lie, there is butter and cream in here, but the calories are a mere blip up against all of the other fresh and healthy ingredients in this dish.

4 pounds chicken, skinned and boneless (I combine breast and thigh)
4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
8 cloves garlic
1 cup blanched almonds
½ cup water
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (fat, low-fat, or non-fat)
2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves (12 cloves - easy to do in mortar and pestle)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons garam masala
8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed in mortar and pestle
2 tablespoons salt
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 large onions, thinly sliced
8 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter (1 stick)
½ - 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup heavy cream or half and half

Turn empty slow cooker to high while you prep.

Wash and cut chicken into 2 ½ -inch strips. Don’t cut it too small or it will dry out while cooking. If you are using frozen, be sure to defrost it completely before putting into the slow cooker. Set aside in a bowl.

In a food processor grind ginger, garlic, and almonds until smooth. Pour in water to help puree to a thick, almost creamy paste. To help the process turn food processor off and push almonds down from the sides and pulse again at once or twice to ensure the entire mixture is finely pureed.

In a bowl use a hand whisk to blend above paste, yogurt, red chili powder, cloves, cinnamon, garam masala, cardamom, and salt. Gently fold in tomatoes.

Pour mixture over chicken and mix well.

Put ghee or butter into slow cooker (which should be very hot by now). Allow it to melt – about 15 minutes. Put in onions and lightly fry for another 15 minutes, mixing slightly once or twice. Because this is done in a slow cooker the onions won’t get browned as they normally would on a stovetop. That’s okay. Just soften them in the butter. The slow cooker will do the rest later.

Add chicken mixture. Mix gently but thoroughly. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 6 hours.


After cooking, add the cilantro and cream. Mix and top with chopped onions and green chilies. Serve with Basmati rice or thick naan.

If you don’t want to make this much chicken, you can cut the recipe in half using only 2 pounds of chicken. It will cook just fine in the 5-quart slow cooker.



Anupy Singla
Anupy Singla

Author



15 Comments

Sarah
Sarah

October 24, 2012

I stumbled across your website while searching for recipes for butter chicken. What a find! I have never cooked Indian fare before, and tonight was my first foray. I prepared the dish in a large Dutch oven and “slow cooked” in the oven for 3.5 hours at 200-250 degrees. The chicken was awesome. My whole family, including my 2 yr old and my 4 and 5 yr olds enjoyed it. I’m not sure what I was aiming for- but the dish was tasty nonetheless. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be utilizing your site more.

Indian As Apple Pie
Indian As Apple Pie

December 09, 2009

Ichia…thanks for posting your comments and welcome to the site. I'm so excited that you tried out the recipe and that it worked for you! I hope you'll try more and post your comments. Unsolicited feedback about cooking times/easy of reading the recipe/ease of making are invaluable as I continue to write and process this cookbook! Take care…Anupy

s
s

April 11, 2010

This im def trying..have some chicken in the freezer …will let u know how it turned out….

chi79
chi79

June 03, 2010

Another winning recipe in my house, and with husband's approval.

I am impressed with the slow cooker version, since I try to use it when we don't have a lot of time during the week to cook.

This actually reminds me of the meal we had last January of 2009 when we were in D.C for Obama's inauguration…we stayed at our friend's uncle's house, and his aunt outdid herself cooking a lot of Indian food. This dish brought back the memories of aromas hitting us as soon as we walked through the door. When I made this dish, the aroma was all over the house, and my husband was drooling when I put the dish in front of him.

I am SO looking forward to buying your book when it comes out!

elenita
elenita

September 14, 2009

The photo looked exactly what I made. I love dishes with almonds and was eager to try this recipe out. And a title with the word butter in it will certainly get my attention. I followed the measurements exactly, but found it just a bit too salty for my taste. Chris said it was just fine, and was looking in the fridge for a pickled Indian vegetable to add as a side. I also stir fried a cauliflower dish as an accompaniment – sorry it wasn't your recipe. I'm curious about this week's recipe. I may have to add tomatoes – really weak for those. Keep the recipes coming!

Indian As Apple Pie
Indian As Apple Pie

September 15, 2009

Ruta and Sanjay it means a lot to get your approval. I hope you'll try out some other dishes soon!

James…you know you can't resist my cooking!!!

Matt – yes, dropping the cooking time by 2 hours really made a difference. I'm so glad you noticed. I'll txt you when my mock keema is ready. It's almost done!

Elena….you, my dear, for being the first non-relative to post that you actually tried a recipe get a FREE copy of my cookbook. (Just remind me – it's still a year out!) I love that you tried it and the salt issue is really a matter of preference. It might also make a difference that I use sea salt. So maybe my one tablespoon would be less for regular salt which has smaller grains? Just a thought. That will all be in the book eventually. I'm so excited that you are trying these recipes out with me!

Everyone else…keep going!!

lchia
lchia

December 07, 2009

Thank you for sharing your recipe. after coming across your blog through eat a duck i must, i've told myself i need to try out the butter chicken and i made it this afternoon. it could not be more simple, i loved that i could prep the different stages while waiting for the crockpot to heat up, butter to melt, etc. it's very delicious and i'm sharing with three friends tomorrow, i'm sure they will like it too! i look forward to trying other recipes and when your book comes out!

smokingpenguin
smokingpenguin

September 11, 2009

The aloo gobi that James brought home (what was left of it) was amazing! It was awesomely spicy, the cauliflower was still crunchy, the potatoes were perfectly seasoned! I could go on. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the butter chicken as of yet due to the recent food embargo levied in the Flantowne household! I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks again for the cauliflower and kudos!!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

September 14, 2009

Hi Anupy

So I cheated on our diet cleanse so I could try the butter chicken. The flavor of the dish to me was very similar the major difference was the tenderness and moistness of the chicken in this butter chicken recipe. The chicken was extremely buttery, I think you hit the nail on the head. This is a recipe that I would eat over rice or over a salad. I think this over a bed of cabbage would be delish and the liquid will act as its own salad dressing.

James

Anonymous
Anonymous

September 14, 2009

My second time trying this dish and it is better than the first. The chicken was tender and juicy, far from over-cooked as sometimes is the case when a slow cooker is involved. The dish was creamy, but didn't feel too fatty and the warm naan (with a bit of butter on it) went perfectly with the dish. I didn't eat with rice this time, as I did last time, but wish I would have. The creamy/buttery sauce was absorbed perfectly last time, bringing great flavor to the rice.

Thanks for another Winner Anupy.

matt

Indian As Apple Pie
Indian As Apple Pie

September 10, 2009

Hi Miral. I hope you meant to say tasty!:) All of my pictures are my dishes. They are taken by my friend and fellow journalist/photographer Maura Wall Hernandez. She comes over every Thurs. morning and shoots shots of whatever I've cooked. As a journalist I maintain a high level of self-imposed integrity. If I take a picture from a different source I will tell you. Otherwise they are all mine. Thank you for the question. It's a good one!

Rajee. If I had your skills at decorating I wouldn't bother cooking:)…Shruthi…you def. get another bite. The change? I reduced the cooking time to 6 hours not 8 so that the chicken would be even more tender. Oh, and reduced amount of yogurt and made a batch of 4 pounds rather than just 2 pounds of chicken. All were minor changes.

Ruta Rao
Ruta Rao

September 11, 2009

Anupy- boyh Sanjay and I loved the butter chicken. The chicken was very tender, and the blend of spices in the sauce was just right. I wouldn't change a thing! The girls loved it too – Isha actually asked for seconds (something she never does!). Aloo gobi was great too, my personal preference was the one without tomato. Thanks again!

Rajee Sood
Rajee Sood

September 10, 2009

Looks pretty yummshious … o.k so you are increasing my kitchen work … how much more guilt can a woman live with … Lord!… will have to try this out for the family …;)

Shruthi
Shruthi

September 10, 2009

I tasted your first batch of butter chicken and thought it was perfect so am curious as to what, if anything, you can do to improve. It was different (and much better) than in restaurants. I liked that yours had subtle hints of fresh tomatoe, but not tons of sweet tomatoe paste and excessive cream like in restaurant version. Your chicken was tender and cooked perfectly, not under (pink inside) or over cooked (dry or tough) as in restaurants. I'm planning to get a crock pot and try the recipe soon. No promises, but hopefully, I'll be the first one so I can get that free cooking lesson!

Miral Patel
Miral Patel

September 10, 2009

Hi, just curious to know pictures are of your cooking or just copied from somewhere from net, let me tell you it looks too testy!!!

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