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Butter chicken and basmati rice

A spicy and savoury chicken dinner that will please a whole family of picky eaters. 



For the chicken marinade:

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 fresh chile or pinch hot pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt, (full fat)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 8 chicken thighs on the bone, skinless

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons ghee/clarified butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 fresh chile pepper or pinch hot pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can (796 milliliters) whole plum tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 can (398 milliliters) coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander, to finish
  • Toasted naan bread for serving (optional)

For the basmati rice:

  • 1 teaspoon butter or ghee
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients for marinade and blend well. 
  2. Add the chicken thighs and immerse completely in mixture.
  3. Cover and allow to marinate in fridge for at least four hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Transfer chicken pieces to shallow baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Roast until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes, depending on thickness. Set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating ghee in dutch oven or deep skillet over medium heat. 
  8. When pan is hot add onion and sauté until soft and golden, about five minutes.
  9. Add chile, garlic, ginger, garam masala and paprika, cook until fragrant, stirring often, about three to five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 
  10. Add tomato paste, pureed tomatoes, coconut milk and almond butter. Bring to a boil and then let simmer, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  11. Mixture should be reduced by half and thick. Add roasted chicken pieces to the sauce and continue to cook for about ten minutes, just to absorb sauce. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
  12. Sprinkle with fresh coriander before serving. Serve with Naan bread warmed in the oven and basmati rice.


For the basmati rice:

  1. In a small pot, heat butter on medium setting and add rice.
  2. Toast for a few minutes, stirring to coat rice.
  3. Add stock and peas and bring to a boil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir, reduce to low, and cover. Simmer for 12 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Keep covered. Let stand five minutes before serving. Fluff with fork.

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