Food for Thought with Suzanne Dunaway

Butter Chicken

Well, during our lockdown I went mad for Indian cooking and plunged into dosas, puris, chapati, naan and revivals of all my recipes for various curries, including my favorite of all time, Butter Chicken.  Of all the curries, I love it because it really has its own unique flavors, unlike many curries that can sometimes resemble each other because of similar spices.

And I have simplified the classic by using the chicken and marinade to begin the final curry, therefore saving loads of time and making it something you can whip up on a whim instead of waiting overnight for the ingredients to gather tastes.  They will be just as tasty with my version, I promise you. If you find your sauce a bit thick, add just a touch of chicken broth or a couple of spoons of crushed tomatoes.

Fenugreek grows wild here in France and so I “borrowed” some on a walk in our  hills around Collioue and planted it and now have it thriving in the garden.  It is called methi and can be found at Indian spice shops or online in powder form or seeds.  I use a coffee grinder for griding seeds of cumin, methi, coriander and other whole Indian spices.

butter chicken


For the chicken


  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of fenugreek or a few fresh leaves, scissored (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of clove
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Enough Greek yogurt to cover the chicken pieces


In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients and let sit for an hour or two before assembling.

Then remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and reserve both.

For the butter sauce


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet green or red chili pepper, minced
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes, puréed or a good cup of any tomato sauce you like
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt to taste


In a large skillet, heat the oil and ghee and sauté the onion, garlic, and chili pepper until soft. Then add the chicken pieces and sauté quickly until golden. Add the marinade and tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

butter chicken

Serve over steamed rice and garnish with fresh coriander, chopped however you like to chop.

This, and all curries, may be made into amazingly delicious thick soups by using your magic wand mixer and puréeing the whole shebang.   I have just puréed my Butter Chicken into a dinner soup and will serve with naan (recipe coming soon) and chopped fresh cilantro.

butter chicken

Note:  You do not have to marinate the chicken and instead use it straight from the marinade into the butter sauce.  Saves lots of time.

Meet the chef

P-O Life reader, Suzanne Dunaway, has cooked since she was 5 years old, when she made cinnamon pinwheels from her mother’s pastry dough.

She LOVES to cook. Some might say she LIVES to cook. The smells, the tastes, the textures…

She is a firm believer in simplicity and creates her recipes in the ethos of ‘anyone can cook’.

After years of experience in her own kitchen, cooking schools and private classes all over the world, in this weekly blog, Suzanne shares with us her PO-inspired creations.

With many strings to her bow, she is also an artist and columnist, with two published cookbooks.

Get a copy of her ‘No Need to Knead: Handmade Artisan Breads in 90 Minutes’ here  

Or her 5 star rated book ‘Rome, at Home: The Spirit of La Cucina Romana in Your Own Kitchen’ here

All content and recipes are copyright of Suzanne Dunaway.


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