Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Ah, the classic Kiwi curry. Carefully-balanced spices, not too much chilli and a devilishly rich sauce. Donít get me wrong Ė Iím all for a wickedly hot lamb vindaloo, or an extra-spicy tikka masala, but sometimes a mild curry is all you need to settle yourself into a quite-content food coma. The butter- and cream-based sauce makes this popular dish particularly indulgent, so warn your arteries in advance. Easy to prepare, youíll find that cooking the rice is the most challenging part. And I promise you, even that is not a complicated task.


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1/2 tsp each of powdered ginger, chilli, turmeric,
  • cinnamon, garam masala, salt
  • 450g chicken breast, cubed
  • 25g butter
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 to 4 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 cup cream

Place rice in a large pot, and top with three cups of cold water. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, turn the heat right down, put a lid on top and simmer for 12-14 minutes. Take off the heat, and leave covered for five minutes. Pop a dried bay leaf in the pot when cooking for a subtle aroma, or squeeze a little lime juice over the cooked rice to add a delicate citrus tang.

Meanwhile, make your flavour base. Combine the ginger, chilli, turmeric, cinnamon, garam masala and salt in a bowl. Add more chilli if you prefer a bit more heat (remember that this is a typically milder curry which accounts for easily-startled Western tastebuds). Toss this mixture through the chicken, coating evenly.

In a wide saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking for two minutes.

Add the chicken to the pan, cook a further five minutes, stirring frequently.
Finally, add the tomato paste and cream, stirring to create an even consistency, and cook a final five minutes. Try adding only a few tablespoons of tomato paste initially, and add more as your palate requires.

Serve the chicken over the rice. Finely-sliced spring onions and mung bean sprouts make a fresh, crunchy garnish.

This meal will feed four hungry scarfies for just under $20.
This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2012.
Posted 6:37pm Sunday 11th March 2012 by Ines Shennan.