Butter Masala Chicken with Pilaf


Deepavali is just around the corner and we are sure some of you have already started planning or preparing what to cook for the Festival of Lights! As it is a time to impress and celebrate, home cooks will be whipping out their best recipes to show off their culinary prowess and provide delicious foods for family and friends. 

If you are feeling the pressure, we have home cook Rashida’s infallible recipe for Butter Masala Chicken with Pilaf to help you along with the process. Butter Masala Chicken is well known for its rich savoury flavour which pairs perfectly with the light fragrance of the Pilaf. This is a quick and easy meal you can put together in just 40 minutes so you can spend more time celebrating with your family and guests during Deepavali, and you can even cook it as a quick dinner fix for regular weekday nights!

For our non-indian friends, this is a recipe that we would recommend giving it a try! Not only that it’s simple to cook, the butter masala chicken is made up of fresh whole ingredients such as tomato and onion, spices and nuts which gives a tasty balance of natural sweetness, tanginess and fragrance. Cooked with the tender and juicy grilled chicken, we are sure that it is a dish that your whole family will love! For the pilaf, you can replace it with ordinary white rice or if you want to go fancy, enjoy it with ready-made garlic naan which you can get from NTUC.

Butter Masala Chicken and Pilaf

Butter Masala Chicken and Pilaf

All the ingredients for this meal are also easily obtained from NTUC FairPrice. Indian spices can be hard to acquire from local supermarket, but for these dishes, NTUC FairPrice has got you covered without compromising on the flavours! 

And if you don’t have enough reason to celebrate, they are also giving away $500 FairPrice Gift Cards to 100 lucky winners! Simply spend $30 in one receipt from 26 September to 6 November and you might stand a chance to win. Really, all you have to do is just to do your daily grocery shopping at NTUC FairPrice for more chances of winning!

NTUC Fairprice Deepavali Festive Draw

NTUC Fairprice Deepavali Festive Draw

The ingredients needed for the chicken marinade of the Butter Masala Chicken are chicken legs, plain or Greek yoghurt, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, smoked paprika, and salt.

For the masala gravy, you will need oil, butter, purple onions, tomatoes, cashew nuts, water, salt, garlic, chilli powder, paprika powder, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin powder, honey, and cooking cream. #tip we replaced sugar with honey for a healthier and glossier-looking gravy!

For the Pilaf, you will need Basmati rice, water, frozen peas, green chilli, salt, cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, and oil.

The first step is to marinate the chicken. 

In a large bowl, add the chicken and all the marinade ingredients. #tip marinating the chicken with yoghurt is a great way to achieve that tender juicy texture as the acid in the yoghurt will tenderize the meat and lock in the natural juices of the chicken.

Butter masala chicken marinade

Mix the chicken and marinade ingredients together in a large bowl

Mix well and cover the bowl with cling wrap. Place the bowl in the chiller to marinate for at least an hour. #tip you can marinate the chicken overnight for more flavour and a shorter preparation time!

Marinated butter masala chicken

Let the chicken marinate for an hour to overnight

Next, prepare and cook the rice for the pilaf.

Soak the Basmati rice for 15 minutes then drain and transfer the rice into the rice cooker and add the 375ml of water. Do you know that Basmati rice is a healthy grain with high fibre content that makes it a Low GI food? Thus, it is suitable for people who have diabetes, pre-diabetes or pregnant women with gestational diabetes too! #foodfacts

In a pan, heat up some cooking oil and add all the spices, green chilli, and peas. Sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant.

Frying the spices enhances their flavour and fragrance

Add the fried ingredients into the rice cooker and season with salt.

Cooking pilaf in rice cooker

Season the rice with the spices

Close the rice cooker and turn it on to cook as per normal or to cook on “white rice” mode. Although, Basmati rice is traditionally cooked in a pot by Indian home cooks, Rashida tweaked her recipe for us to make it fuss-free with less monitoring and to ensure that the rice will turn out perfect every time!

Cooking white rice in rice cooker

Cook the rice as per normal or on white rice mode

The third step is to grill the chicken. 

In a non-stick pan, heat up some cooking oil and grill the marinated chicken for two minutes on each side. Once, the chicken is fully cooked, put them on a plate and set aside.

Grilling chicken in a frying pan

Grill the chicken on both sides

For the next step, cook the masala gravy.

Using a clean pan, add the oil, butter, and onions and fry until the onions are slightly brown. Add in the tomatoes, cashew nuts, and grated garlic and cook until fragrant.

Cooking tomatoes, onion, cashew nuts, and grated garlic

Cook the vegetables until soft

Add the chili powder, paprika powder, salt and water to the pan. Mix evenly and let the gravy simmer for 10 minutes until the ingredients are soft.

Seasoning cooked vegetables

Season the cooked vegetables and let it simmer for 10 minutes

Pour the cooked gravy into a large bowl and use a hand blender to blend the ingredients into a fine puree. If you are using a regular blender, pour the cooked gravy into the blender straight to blend. If you find that it is difficult to blend, add in 1 tbsp of water at a time for a smoother blend. Do not add too much water as it will dilute the taste of the gravy. 

Blending cooked vegetables

Blend the cooked gravy

Blend gravy until smooth

Blend the gravy until smooth

Using a sieve, strain the gravy into another bowl.

Straining butter chicken gravy

Strain the gravy with a sieve

The last step is to cook the masala gravy with the chicken.

In a clean frying pan, add the butter and whole spices and sauté for 10 seconds. Then add the strained gravy and cumin powder. Simmer the gravy for five minutes.

Frying spices in butter

Sauté the spices for 10 seconds

Pouring gravy into frying pan

Add the gravy to the pan

Add the grilled chicken, honey, and cooking cream to the gravy and stir well. Cook for five to seven minutes.

Grilled chicken in butter masala gravy

Add the chicken, honey and cooking cream to the gravy

Cooking butter masala chicken

Let it cook for 5-7 minutes

Garnish the Butter Masala Chicken with more cream and chopped mint leaves for a touch of finesse and you are ready to serve it alongside the light and fragrant Pilaf!

Butter masala chicken dish

Butter Masala Chicken

Eating butter masala chicken and pilaf

The rich butter masala chicken pairs perfectly with the fragrant pilaf!

Get the recipe here!

Butter Masala Chicken with Pilaf

Servings 3-4 servings

Prep Time 1 hour

Cook Time 40 minutes


Chicken marinade

  • 400g chicken thighboneless and skinless
  • 2tbsp plain greek yoghurt
  • 1tsp red chilli powder
  • 1tsp paprika powder
  • 1 garlic clovegrated into garlic paste
  • 7g gingergrated into ginger paste
  • 1/4tsp salt

Pilaf Rice

  • 220g basmati rice
  • 375ml water
  • 80g frozen peas or mixed vegetableoptional
  • 20g green chillicut into 4
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloveswhole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1tbsp oil
  • 1/2tsp salt

Masala Gravy (To cook and blend)

  • 1tbsp oil
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 100g red onionscut into wedges and halved
  • 500g tomatoescut into wedges and halved
  • 1clove garlicgrated into garlic paste
  • 1/2tbsp chilli powder
  • 1tbsp paprika powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 4tbsp water

Masala Gravy (Part 2)

  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 4 green cardamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/2tsp cumin powder
  • 2tbsp honey
  • 3tbsp Emborg cooking cream


Step 1 – Marinate the chicken

  1. In a large bowl, add in chicken, greek yogurt, red chilli powder, paprika powder, garlic paste, ginger paste, and salt. Mix well and cling wrap the bowl. Transfer to the chiller and allow it to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Step 2 – Cook the rice (Prepare the rice while the chicken is marinating)

  1. Wash and soak rice for at least 15 min. Drain the water and transfer rice into rice cooker. Add in 375mlwater.

  2. In a pan, heat up oil. Add in all the spices (cumin, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise), green chilli and peas, sauté for 2 mins till fragrance releases.

  3. Pour all the ingredients in the pan into the rice cooker. Add in salt.

  4. Cook the rice on “white rice” mode.

Step 3 – Grill the chicken

  1. In a non-stick pan, heat up 2 tbsp oil. Grill the marinated chicken for 2mins on each side.

  2. Once the chicken is fully cooked, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Step 4 – Cook and blend the Masala gravy

  1. In a clean pan, add in oil, butter and onion. Cook till the onion turns slightly brown. Add in tomatoes, cashew nuts, grated garlic and cook till it’s fragrant.

  2. Add chilli powder, paprika powder, salt and water. Mix it evenly, cook for 10 minutes till the tomato and onion have softened

  3. Transfer into a large bowl. Use a hand blender or tabletop blender to blend the ingredients into a fine puree.

  4. Strain the gravy into another bowl.

Cooking part 2 of Masala Gravy

  1. In a clean frying pan, add the butter and the spices (green cardamom ,bay leaf and cinnamon stick) and saute for 10 seconds. Then add the strained gravy, cumin powder and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

  2. Add in the grilled chicken, honey and cooking cream into the gravy. Stir and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.

  3. Garnish it with some cream(optional) and it with the Pilaf rice or ready-made naan

The post Butter Masala Chicken with Pilaf appeared first on Share Food Singapore.


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