Mother Butter Chicken


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      50 min

Appears in

Mowgli Street Food

Mowgli Street Food

By Nisha Katona

Published 2018

  • About

This is a Mowgli favourite. What makes it so addictive is the tang of the tandoori dressing marinade. I only make this at home when we have guests, otherwise the uncompromising aromas waft up the drive and can frighten the neighbours.


  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large white onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 5 cm/2 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground fenugreek
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 400 g/14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 500 g/1 lb 2 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 5 cm/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 80 g/3 oz/ cup butter


    1. Put the oil in a large heavy pan and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the diced onions, ginger and garlic and fry for 8 minutes or until the onions have softened and turned golden brown. Turn the heat down to low and add the cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, turmeric, chilli powder, tomato purée, canned tomatoes and Greek-style yogurt, stir well and cook for a further 5 minutes. Blend the mixture with a hand-held/immersion blender until it turns into a smooth sauce, then set aside.
    2. Rub the tandoori masala into the chicken pieces then, in a separate large nonstick frying pan set over a medium-high heat, fry for 6 minutes or until the chicken starts to change colour and brown at the edges.
    3. Add the browned chicken to the blended sauce. Return to a low heat and slowly add up to 500 ml/17 fl oz/2 cups water to achieve the consistency of sauce that you like. Add the salt and sugar and simmer gently for 15–20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Finish by stirring the butter through to create a thick and creamy sauce. Don’t be afraid to add a little more water to loosen the sauce to your taste.