Butter Chicken with Pilaf Rice


1 kg boneless chicken skin removed

Juice of 1 lime

Salt to taste

1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to suit your taste)

6 cloves

8-10 peppercorns

1″ stick of cinnamon

2 bay leaves

8-10 almonds

Seeds from 3-4 pods of cardamom

1 cup fresh yoghurt (must not be sour)

3 tbsps vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil

2 onions chopped

2 tsps garlic paste

1 tsp ginger paste

2 tsps coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 can (400g or 14 oz) of tomato paste

1/2 litre chicken stock

2 tbsps kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

3 tbsps unmelted, soft butter

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves to garnish

Pilaf Rice

1 cup long grain rice

1+1/4 cup chicken stock (or water)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 white onion, diced

1 celery stick, chopped

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper



Mix the chicken, lime juice, salt and red chilli powder in a large, non-metallic bowl. Cover and allow to marinate for 1 hour.

Heat a flat pan or griddle on medium heat and gently roast (stirring frequently) the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and almonds till they darken slightly. Cool and add the cardamom seeds. Now grind into a coarse powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder.

Mix the yoghurt, above whole spice powder (from previous step), coriander, cumin and turmeric powders together and add them to the chicken. Allow to marinate for another hour.

Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium heat. When hot, add the onions. Fry till a pale golden brown in color and then add the ginger and garlic pastes. Fry for a minute.

Add only the chicken from the chicken-spice mix and fry till sealed (chicken will turn opaque and the flesh will go from pink to whitish in color).

Now add the tomato paste, chicken stock, kasuri methi and remaining part of the yogurt-spice mix to the chicken.

Cook till the chicken is tender and the gravy is reduced to half its original volume.

Melt the butter in another small pan and then pour it over the chicken.

Garnish with coriander leaves

Pilaf Rice

In a small pot, add some olive oil, the onion, garlic, celery and bay leaf and season with some salt and pepper. Heat up until the onion and garlic soften. Add the rice and stir around so it’s coated by the olive oil and pour in the stock. Put a lid on the pot, bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat as low as possible. Leave the rice to cook for 15-17 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave it to sit (with the lid on) for 20 minutes