Butter Chicken under PHP200: A Budget Take on the Creamy Indian Curry

December 3, 2019

We’ll bet you won’t find an Indian restaurant that doesn’t serve butter chicken (or murgh makhani). Surprising, you’d think; you probably wouldn’t have guessed buttery fried food would be a staple in the South Asian region. Well, let’s stop you there. That’s not what we’re talking about here. The butter chicken we mean is a creamy, spice-forward dish—more tikka masala than buttered fried chicken. But we get how that might be confusing.

Butter is better, this chicken is butter… better. Wait, what?

Butter chicken is an Indian staple even beyond restaurants. And we get it—the one-pot dish is so flavor-packed, and goes well with any type of carb. Our recipe makes it even better, promising a hefty serving at only PHP154.53 per person. We recommend adding salt to taste before eating, and pairing it with buttered rice (pour it all over!). You can also whip up some homemade naan, if you’ve got the time.

Butter Chicken

  • Serves: 2 people
  • Active time: 45 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy



  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • ½ cup red onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. garam masala
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter


  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces (450g)
  • Salt, to taste


  • 2 cups rice, cooked
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped


  1. In a large skillet or pot over medium heat, add the oil.
  2. Add the red onion, ginger, and garlic to the pot and cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garam masala, cumin, and paprika to the pot and toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to sizzle.
  5. Add the water and stir until well combined.
  6. Bring mixture up to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
  7. Season with salt to taste.
  8. Add in the diced chicken and cook over low heat until chicken is fully cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.
  9. Turn off the heat then add in the cream and butter, and stir until incorporated.
  10. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.
  11. Serve with rice topped with butter.​
Jica Simpas Jica Simpas

Jica hopes that by writing about food she'll actually learn how to cook. But for now, she'll happily just eat everything—especially cookies.

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