by Susan Hanna

Butter Chicken for millstoneA dear friend sent me this recipe from the New York Times last summer, and we recently all sat down together to enjoy it. The ingredient list is long, but the results are worth it. The preparation is in two parts, as the chicken is marinated in spiced yogurt for several hours. I served the chicken with basmati rice and Indian-spiced vegetables.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for yogurt, butter, canola oil and tomato paste without additives and use fresh lemon juice. Check the spices to be sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I use Imagine brand chicken stock. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit


  • 1 ½ cups (375 ml) full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) ground cumin
  • 3 pounds (1.5 kg) chicken thighs, on the bone
  • ¼ pound (125 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 medium-size tomatoes, diced
  • 2 red chiles, like Anaheim, or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock, low-sodium or homemade
  • 1 ½ cups (375 ml) cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) ground almonds, or finely chopped almonds
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed.


  1. Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin in a large bowl. Put the chicken in, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate (for up to a day).
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, and cook until the onions start to brown.
  3. Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chiles and salt, and cook until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and marinade to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Add the almonds, cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serves 6.

From the New York Times