CHICKEN MAKHANI (Butter Chicken)

January 25, 2017

CHICKEN MAKHANI (Butter Chicken)




Ah winter…from the lack of sunshine, to the daily battles with wind, rain and snow it’s no wonder we feel battered and exhausted. And why it’s so important to take time to retreat and renew our senses. One of the best ways we’ve found to take off the chill and warm our souls is with a piping hot bowl of Indian Restaurant comfort food. Now, sure, you could grab some take out, but if you’ve got a slow cooker or crockpot, you can get this dish prepped and cooking in about 15 minutes then sit back and relax knowing that in about two and a half hours your belly will be filled with spicy deliciousness!

(No extra charge for the heavenly smells that will fill your home!)

Chicken Makhani, which has its flavor origins in Northern India is not really a traditional Indian recipe but likely a dish that evolved through Indian migration to the west and uniquely concocted in small Mom and Pop restaurants. So, while it can be classified as a curry, the recipe is as original as it’s chef. One thing that is a fact though is that Butter Chicken contains NO BUTTER! Typically, it gets its richness and fat from either sour cream, or as we use, 2% Greek Yogurt, which also tames the heat of the curry.  But TRUST us, one bite and your taste buds will be fooled from the super creamy flavor explosion in your mouth.

So, grab the ingredients, set up the crockpot or slow cooker and get this spice party going. It only takes about 15 minutes of prep so you'll have plenty of time to unwind. And, when your Makhani gets down to the last hour of cooking you can craft some classic and healthy sides like rice, Saag and grilled garlic naan for the full Indian take-out experience. (Thankfully, you can pick up some great ready-made naan at your local market, along with your favorite beer so it’s just a matter of steaming rice and making the spiced and creamy Indian spinach.) Remember when choosing rice, select a high quality basmati for a traditional side that’s light and fragrant but if you want to add a little a different texture to the meal, experiment with brown rice or even quinoa.



Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes


3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 2-inch chunks

One 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt

1 T lemon juice

1 T  ZEN Seasonings (maybe more to suit your tastes)

1 t lemon zest

1 t cornstarch

¼ t ground cinnamon

1 1/2 t garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, finely minced

One 1½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 small Serrano Chile—stemmed, seeded and minced

Sea Salt to taste

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish

2 cups steamed rice, for serving

Optional Sides: Garlic Naan & Saag



Add all of the ingredients, except the cilantro and rice, to the slow cooker or crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on high until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 2 hours. Garnish with cilantro leaves, then serve over rice with Saag, Naan and a chilled beer.



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