Keto Indian Butter Chicken

Known as Makhan murg, this dish from India’s capital, Delhi, was invented as a way to repurpose leftover Tandoori chicken, reviving it by drenching it in luxurious, fragrant, creamy-buttery sauce. Here, it’s made with fresh chicken, but you could also make just the sauce to accompany cooked chicken (adjusting the macros, of course). Serve it solo or add cauliflower rice and recalculate the macros. Note: this recipe requires you marinate the chicken for 6 hours, so plan accordingly. 
Serves 4

Ingredients List

  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala (a dried spice blend available in well-stocked grocers)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • 6 Tbsp (3 oz) ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Roma plum tomato, diced
  • 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
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  • In a medium bowl with a lid, add the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk to combine, then add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the ghee over medium heat. Add the ginger, cumin seeds, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder and cook, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, Serrano pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until the tomatoes and chiles soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and its marinade and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. 
  • Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened up a bit more, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the almonds, garnish with the cilantro leaves, and serve. 


RecipeEric Lundy

PhotographyErin Ng


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