Murgh Makhan (Silken Chicken)

“The Best of India” by Balraj Khanna (Collins, 1993): “The Mughals, who ruled India for almost three hundred years, loved eating and entertaining, and rich, creamy dishes such as this formed an essential part of their lavish lifestyle. Serve this very special dish as part of a large meal.”


1 3lb chicken
4 cloves garlic
1 medium fresh green chili
1 2 inch piece ginger
2 c. onion, finely chopped
8 cardamom pods
9 cloves
Total butter: 1 stick


CUT one 3-lb chicken, skin removed, into 10 pieces.

COMBINE and process for 15 seconds: 4 garlic cloves, halved 1 medium fresh hot green chili, seeded, one 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped

ADD and process 15 seconds: 2 cups finely chopped onions

ADD and process 15 seconds: 8 cardamom pods, cracked 9 cloves


HEAT in large saucepan/ skillet: 3 Tablespoons butter (heat until foam is going down)

BROWN on medium heat: 1/2 the chicken pieces (“lightly browned on all sides) Transfer to plate, repeat with 3 more tablespoons butter and remaining chicken.

ADD TO PAN and cook, stirring constantly: The rest the butter The garlic/onion/spice mixture Cook it for 10 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.

ADD and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly: 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 1 teaspoon chili powder (unspiced ground chili peppers) One 1 1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick

ADD and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes: One 16 ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice 1/2 teaspoon salt (sounds silly, with that in butter and tomatoes)

ADD: The chicken and its juices

REDUCE HEAT to low, cook covered 30 minutes, until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened.

GARNISH WITH: 1/4 cup fresh coriander (for 6)

2 thoughts on “Murgh Makhan (Silken Chicken)”

  1. Murgh makhani/ Butter chicken is actually a fairly modern dish . It was invented by a restaurant in the 1950’s in Delhi. It got so popular that restaurants all over the city started serving some vaiation of this dish. It does not date back to the Mughals.

  2. loved the chicken – cooked it for Ram and went to bed thereafter- desi dhamaka!!! hai meri choli—-

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