A classic curry for all the family to enjoy

SERVES: 4 – 6
PREP TIME: 50 mins (plus 5 hrs marinating)
DIFFICULTY: not too tricky but you have to make things in stages
IDEAL FOR: family meal, Friday night ‘fakeaway’, crowd-pleaser, curry night

Toby’s butter chicken curry

Why Toby’s butter chicken curry?

Well, to be honest, it’s a Rick Stein recipe.

And a butter chicken curry is one of our favourites.

So, I was going to do it for a post.

But now I have a young aspiring chef in the house now.

So, Lou’s Kitchen Corner is slowly turning into Toby’s Kitchen Corner.

He’s muscling in with a lot of skills.

So, I may have to find another ‘Corner’!

Cooking is a passion

But there is nothing better than seeing a young person passionate about something.

And food has always been a passion for our Tob’s (normally eating it!).

But more recently he has really thrown himself into cooking.

Working (part-time) and being inspired by the young cooks and chefs at his workplace, Stoke Lodge Hotel.

And being constantly surrounded by cooking and family all his young life has really started to spill out of him.

And luckily for us, onto our plates. Yum.

And the best part is, I’m learning things from him now.

This year, he’s been part of 2 pop-up suppers for Lou’s Kitchen Corner.

And the 2nd pop-up was a team-up with ‘the old man’ and Toby on dessert.

Not long after that, he cooked a meal for Tim’s reunion of his 3 old travelling friends.

And this coming Friday he is putting on his first dinner party for 8 of his mates to celebrate his 18th birthday.

Not bad considering he’s also studying for his final year in A-levels.

And is on the case to get his driving licence.

Butter chicken curry

Last year, I did a slightly different take on Butter Chicken aka murgh makhana.

And it was superb.

But I love a bit of Rick Stein and he’s been on a food tour around India.

So, I thought it was worth a nudge.

The thing is, his recipe is a bit of labour of love with two marinades, grilling the chicken, using A LOT of spices and blending cashew nuts etc.

This means I’d recommend doing this as a weekend dish, not a midweek meal (unless you do a big batch over the weekend and freeze it).

This recipe also asks for Kashmiri chilli powder.

So, I decided to see what all the fuss is about and bought some Kashmiri chilli online.

Delicious butter chicken curry made by Toby

What is Kashmiri chilli?

Kashmiri chilli is a vibrant red chilli (pepper) from the region of Kashmir (go figure).

It’s a vibrant red and is known more for its colour and flavour, than for its heat.

It’s a fruity and slightly smoky flavour so perfect for those that can’t do chilli heat.

And works well in curries such as Rogan Josh and Tikka Masala with deep red colours.

(btw, some confuse Tikka Masala as the same as a butter chicken – keep reading and I’ll explain the subtle differences)

What can I use instead of Kashmiri chilli powder?

If you don’t have Kashmiri chilli powder then the best substitute is:

  • A combination of sweet smoked paprika with a little cayenne for heat.

Butter chicken vs. Tikka masala

What exactly is the difference or are they one and the same?

They’re both tomato and cream-based sauces.

They look and taste almost identical.

But butter chicken (Murgh Makani) is a creamy blend of tomato sauce and spices.

While tikka masala has a creamy tomato gravy and onion sauce i.e. not as creamy as butter chicken

And butter chicken has a lesser tomato intensity.

The other more obvious difference between them is that butter chicken can be made with the chicken bones left in.

While chicken tikka masala is typically boneless.

Also, chicken tikka masala is a British invention.

But they’re subtle differences to be sure.

Toby’s butter chicken curry

Having said all that, this butter chicken, inspired by Rick Stein and cooked by Toby, was a winner.

And the Kashmiri chilli powder is worth having in your cupboard.

And this recipe with all its spices is a very good reason to start building up your spice cupboard.

So that next time you make a curry, you have all your gorgeous species to hand.


Toby’s butter chicken curry

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword butter chicken curry, chicken, chicken curry, chicken recipes, curry, fakeaway, INdian curry
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Rick Stein
Cost £


  • 4 large chicken breasts, skinned, each cut into 2 or 3 pieces at an angle

1st marinade

  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt

2nd marinade

  • 50 g natural yoghurt
  • 50 g double cream
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 5 cm fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin

The sauce

  • 50 g clarified butter (see blogon how to get clarified butter)
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely crushed
  • 5 cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 400 g tomato passata (or used tinned tomatoes but make it as smooth as you can)
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or use substitute – see blog)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200 ml water
  • 25 g cashew nuts
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 45 ml double cream
  • handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped for garnish
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, finely shredded for garnish


1st marinade

  • For the first marinade, mix the lime juice, chilli powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, then cover and transfer to the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.

2nd marinade

  • For the second marinade, put all the ingredients apart from the chat masala into a mini food processor. Blend until smooth, then add this to the marinated chicken and stir well to coat. Cover and transfer to the fridge to marinate for 4 hours.

Char the chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 240°C (or it's highest)
  • Place the chicken on a wire rack over a roasting tin. Roast for 15–20 mins, or until lightly charred in places but not completely cooked through, as you’ll finish cooking them in the sauce.

The sauce

  • For the sauce, while the chicken is cooking, heat the ghee in heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute, then stir in the tomato passata and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add all the spices, coconut, salt and 100ml of the water and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  • In a mini food processor, or using a pestle and mortar, blend the cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds and boiling water into a paste. Stir this into the sauce followed by the chicken pieces and another 100ml water.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through, then stir in the fenugreek leaves, sugar and cream and cook for a further 2 minutes. Sprinkle with chat masala, garnish with fresh coriander and ginger, and serve.



The Daring Kitchen

Rick Stein