Coconut Butter Chicken

June 3, 2024 10:08 a.m. EST

Serves 4 to 6


2 tablespoons butter or ghee
3–4 chicken breasts, cubed
Salt & pepper
2 yellow onions, diced
½–1 serrano or jalapeno chili pepper, diced
¼ cup finely chopped cashews
3 garlic cloves, minced
3–4 tablespoons finely grated ginger
4 green cardamom pods, crushed, seeds removed and pods discarded
1 ½ teaspoons coriander seed
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 (156ml) can tomato paste
1 (400ml) can coconut milk, well shaken
1–2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ lemon, juiced
Rice or naan, for serving
Cilantro, for serving


  1. Heat the butter or ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add into the pan to sear until golden brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the onions into the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. Add in the chili and cashews and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or until the chili is soft.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and chili powder. Cook for 30 second to take the edge off the garlic and ginger and to toast the spices. Add in the tomato paste, stirring well to combine, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully pour in ½ cup of water and scrape any stuck-on bits off the bottom of the pan.
  4. Transfer the onion and spice mixture into a stand blender, add in the coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar, and blitz until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot. Alternatively, leave the mixture in the pot, add in the coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar, and use a stick blender (also known as an immersion blender) to blitz the sauce until smooth.
  5. Lower the heat to medium-low and add in the chicken. Place an off-kilter lid over the pot and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with more salt and sugar, if needed. Stir through the lemon juice and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve over rice or with naan, scattered with cilantro.

You might also like