Floyd Cardoz's Butter Chicken (Chicken Tikka Makhani) Recipe

Max Falkowitz

This recipe makes more gravy than you may need. Serve with plenty of rice.

Adapted from Floyd Cardoz courtesy of the New York Culinary Experience.

Recipe Facts



Active: 60 mins
Total: 6 hrs
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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For the Chicken Tikka:

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped

  • 3 tablespoons juice from 3 limes

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as vegetable or canola)

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 cups yogurt

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the Sauce:

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans roasted tomatoes

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger

  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 3 tablespoons fenugreek leaves, toasted until darker in color and crushed

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, to taste


  1. For Chicken Tikka: In a food processor, combine garlic, ginger, chile, lime juice, oil, salt, and spices. Process until a rough paste forms, then add yogurt and process until smooth. Transfer to a large zip top bag or leakproof container and add chicken. Marinate 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.

  2. Set broiler rack 4 inches from heat source and preheat broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove chicken from zipper lock bag and wipe off excess marinade with hands. Lay out in a single layer on baking sheet and broil until color darkens and some dark blisters form, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken, rotate sheet pan, and broil until color darkens on other side, about 5 minutes. Repeat once or twice until chicken registers 170°F on an instand read thermometer inserted into the thickest part, and one side has significant charring on edges. Set aside to rest.

  3. For sauce: In a large, heavy pot, combine tomatoes, water, onion, garlic, ginger, chile, butter, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered at a hard simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens to about 2 1/2 quarts, about 30 minutes.

  4. Transfer 1/3 of sauce to jar of a blender. Starting with low speed, gradually increase to high. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean large saucepan. Repeat with remaining two batches sauce. Keep sauce warm over low heat and stir in fenugreek, black pepper, honey, and cream to taste. Season with salt to taste, then chop chicken tikka into bite-size pieces and add to sauce. Serve with rice and a garnish of julienned ginger.

Special equipment

rimmed sheet pan, food processor, blender

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
558 Calories
39g Fat
34g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 558
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 18g 91%
Cholesterol 162mg 54%
Sodium 873mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 13%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 46mg 232%
Calcium 175mg 13%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 1190mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)