Dhaba Style Butter Chicken Recipe

Dhaba Style Butter Chicken Recipe

90 Mins
5-6 People
20 Mins



The aroma of rich spices wafting from the kitchen brings back memories of my visit to a bustling dhaba nestled on the outskirts of Delhi. It was there that I first laid eyes on the tantalizing sight of butter chicken simmering in a large pot over an open flame. The chef, with his skillful hands, expertly blended the spices, creating a symphony of flavors that danced on my taste buds. From that moment on, I was hooked. Butter chicken became my go-to comfort food, reminding me of the warmth and hospitality of that roadside eatery. Today, I'm excited to share with you my own rendition of this classic dish, inspired by the rustic charm and bold flavors of dhaba-style cooking.




Recipe of Dhaba Style Butter Chicken


Servings: 5-6

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 90 minutes

Calories: Approximately 467 calories per serving





For Makhani Gravy:

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 9-10 stems of coriander
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 4-5 Kashmiri dry chillies
  • 7-8 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch ginger piece
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 javitri (mace)
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 5-6 green cardamoms
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 6-7 cashew nuts
  • Water as required

For Chicken Marination:

  • 1 kg chicken
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

For Chicken Marinade:

  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • ½ tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp black salt
  • 1 cup hung curd

For Butter Chicken Preparation:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream
  • ½ tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 piece of charcoal for smoking





Making the Makhani Gravy:

  1. In a heated pan, combine roughly chopped tomatoes, onion slices, coriander stems, green chillies, dry Kashmiri chillies, ginger, garlic, cashew nuts, and water.

  2. Add whole spices like bay leaf, javitri, black cardamom, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon. Boil for 10-15 mins until tomatoes are soft.

  3. Cool the mixture, remove whole spices, and blend into a smooth paste. Strain if necessary for a silky texture. Set aside.

Marinating and Baking the Chicken:

  1. Clean chicken pieces and marinate with ginger-garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder, and lemon juice. Let it sit for 20-25 mins.

  2. In a bowl, mix Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder, warm mustard oil, jeera powder, garam masala, kasoori methi, coriander powder, black salt, and hung curd.

  3. Add the marinated chicken and let it marinate for 15-20 mins.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C, place the marinated chicken on a baking tray lined with butter paper, and bake for 18-20 mins until fully cooked.

Preparing the Butter Chicken:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, sauté ginger-garlic paste and Kashmiri chilli powder.

  2. Add the prepared makhani gravy, cook, and introduce salt, butter, and cream. Cook for an additional 8-10 mins.

  3. Add the roasted chicken to the gravy, simmer, and add kasoori methi and chopped coriander. Mix well.

  4. Turn off the flame, place a bowl on the gravy, add lit charcoal, pour ghee on it, quickly cover with a lid, and let it sit for a minute.

  5. Uncover, and your homemade Butter Chicken is ready to serve, boasting a perfect blend of aromatic spices and tender chicken pieces.




About the Recipe


Dhaba style butter chicken is a popular North Indian dish known for its rich and creamy tomato-based gravy infused with aromatic spices and tender chunks of chicken. Originating from the roadside eateries or dhabas of Punjab, this dish has gained widespread popularity for its indulgent flavors and comforting appeal. Traditionally cooked in a tandoor (clay oven), the chicken is marinated in a blend of yogurt and spices before being simmered in a luscious gravy enriched with butter, cream, and kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Served with naan or rice, dhaba style butter chicken is a quintessential dish that satisfies both the palate and the soul.



Cooking Tips


  1. Marinate the Chicken: Marinate the chicken pieces in yogurt and spices for at least 30 minutes to ensure tenderness and flavor infusion.
  2. Use Fresh Ingredients: Opt for fresh tomatoes and cream for a rich and vibrant gravy.
  3. Adjust Spices: Adjust the amount of spices according to your preference for heat and flavor.
  4. Simmer Slowly: Allow the gravy to simmer slowly to develop depth of flavor and richness.
  5. Finish with Kasuri Methi: Sprinkle crushed kasuri methi over the finished dish for an added layer of aroma and flavor.



Pairing Guide


  • Naan or Roti: Serve dhaba style butter chicken with naan or roti for a classic combination.
  • Steamed Rice: Pair the butter chicken with steamed basmati rice for a wholesome meal.
  • Salad: Balance out the richness of the dish with a crisp and refreshing salad.




Frequently Asked Questions about Dhaba Style Butter Chicken


  1. What is dhaba style butter chicken?
    • Dhaba style butter chicken is a North Indian dish known for its rich and creamy tomato-based gravy infused with spices and tender chicken.
  2. How is dhaba style butter chicken different from regular butter chicken?
    • Dhaba style butter chicken is typically cooked in a rustic, roadside eatery setting, using traditional cooking techniques and bold flavors that set it apart from the milder, restaurant-style butter chicken.
  3. What spices are used in dhaba style butter chicken?
    • Common spices used in dhaba style butter chicken include garam masala, cumin, coriander, red chili powder, and kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves).
  4. Can I make dhaba style butter chicken ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can prepare the gravy ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Add the cooked chicken and simmer before serving.
  5. Is dhaba style butter chicken spicy?
    • The level of spiciness can be adjusted according to personal preference by controlling the amount of red chili powder used.
  6. Can I make dhaba style butter chicken without cream?
    • Yes, you can substitute cream with yogurt or cashew paste for a lighter version of the dish.
  7. Can I use boneless chicken for dhaba style butter chicken?
    • Yes, boneless chicken pieces can be used for dhaba style butter chicken for convenience.
  8. What is the best way to reheat dhaba style butter chicken?
    • Reheat dhaba style butter chicken gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a splash of water or cream to prevent it from drying out.
  9. Can I freeze dhaba style butter chicken?
    • Yes, dhaba style butter chicken can be frozen for later use. Thaw and reheat before serving.
  10. What is the origin of dhaba style butter chicken?
    • Dhaba style butter chicken originated from the roadside eateries or dhabas of Punjab, where it was prepared using traditional cooking methods and locally sourced ingredients.