Butter Chicken without Garam Masala (Easy Recipe)

This Butter Chicken without Garam Masala will blow your mind!

If you love Indian cuisine, then you’re probably familiar with the classic Butter Chicken dish.

However, if you don’t have garam masala on hand or prefer a version without it, this recipe is perfect for you.

This Butter Chicken recipe skips the garam masala but still delivers all the delicious flavors and creamy texture that you love.

Butter Chicken without Garam Masala

Butter Chicken without Garam Masala

Who can say no to a creamy and flavorful Butter Chicken?

This recipe gives you all the goodness of Butter Chicken without using garam masala.

It’s a great alternative if you don’t have garam masala in your pantry or if you prefer a version without it.

Ingredients

For the Butter Chicken Marinade:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

For the Butter Chicken Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream

To Finish:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

How to Make Butter Chicken without Garam Masala

  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Butter Chicken marinade: plain yogurt, lemon juice, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ground ginger, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
  2. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, making sure they are fully coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and finely chopped jalapeno pepper. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add the ground cumin, paprika, and Kosher salt to the skillet. Stir well to combine with the garlic and jalapeno.
  5. Pour in the canned tomato sauce and stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  6. Lower the heat to medium-low and slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stir well to combine. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. While the sauce is simmering, heat the vegetable oil and unsalted butter in a separate pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the marinated chicken breasts and cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  8. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes. Then, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  9. Add the chicken pieces to the simmering sauce and stir to coat them evenly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the chicken to absorb the flavors of the sauce.
  10. Serve the Butter Chicken without Garam Masala over steamed rice or with warm naan bread. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
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Tips for the Best Butter Chicken

  • Marinating the chicken: For the most flavorful and tender chicken, marinate it for at least 1 hour, or even overnight if possible. The marinade helps to infuse the chicken with all the aromatic spices and yogurt tanginess.
  • Adjust the spice level: If you prefer a milder version, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper or omit it entirely. On the other hand, if you like it spicier, feel free to increase the amount to your taste.
  • Use fresh ingredients: Using fresh garlic, jalapeno pepper, and cilantro will enhance the flavors of the dish. The vibrant flavors of fresh ingredients can make a significant difference in the final result.
  • Taste and adjust: After adding the heavy cream to the sauce, taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more salt, cumin, or paprika according to your preference.

Recipe Variations

  • Vegetarian option: You can easily make a vegetarian version of this dish by substituting the chicken with paneer or tofu. Follow the same marinade and sauce instructions, but use paneer or tofu instead of chicken. Add them to the simmering sauce and cook until heated through.
  • Dairy-free option: If you need to make this recipe dairy-free, you can replace the yogurt with dairy-free yogurt and the heavy cream with coconut cream or cashew cream. The flavor may be slightly different, but it will still be delicious.
  • Adding vegetables: Add more depth and texture to the dish by including vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, or peas. Simply sauté them before adding the sauce or add them in with the chicken during the cooking process.
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What to Serve With Butter Chicken

  • Rice: Serve the Butter Chicken over steamed basmati rice or fluffy jasmine rice. The rice will help to soak up the flavorful sauce.
  • Naan bread: Enjoy the Butter Chicken with warm homemade naan bread or store-bought naan. The soft and slightly chewy bread is perfect for scooping up the sauce.
  • Roti or chapati: If you prefer a thinner, whole wheat bread, serve the Butter Chicken with roti or chapati. These unleavened flatbreads complement the dish well.
  • Side salad: Balance out the richness of the Butter Chicken by serving it with a fresh side salad. A simple cucumber and tomato salad with a lemony dressing is a great choice.

Storage Tips

  • Refrigeration: Once cooled, store any leftover Butter Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Freezing: If you want to freeze the Butter Chicken, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and store for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Sauce separation: When reheating leftover Butter Chicken, you may notice that the sauce has separated slightly. Simply give it a good stir while reheating to incorporate the flavors and re-emulsify the sauce.
  • Freeze marinade separately: If you plan to freeze the marinated chicken, it’s best to freeze the chicken and marinade separately. This way, you can easily thaw and cook the chicken, then mix it with the prepared sauce for optimal texture and flavor.
Butter Chicken without Garam Masala

Butter Chicken without Garam Masala

Butter Chicken without Garam Masala is a creamy and flavorful Indian dish that skips the traditional garam masala spice blend. With tender chicken coated in a yogurt-based marinade and a rich tomato and cream sauce, this recipe delivers all the deliciousness of Butter Chicken without the use of garam masala. It's a perfect dish to enjoy with rice or naan bread.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 411 kcal

Ingredients
  

Butter Chicken Sauce

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream

To Finish

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Butter Chicken marinade: plain yogurt, lemon juice, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ground ginger, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
  • Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, making sure they are fully coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
  • In a large skillet, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and finely chopped jalapeno pepper. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add the ground cumin, paprika, and Kosher salt to the skillet. Stir well to combine with the garlic and jalapeno.
  • Pour in the canned tomato sauce and stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low and slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stir well to combine. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the sauce is simmering, heat the vegetable oil and unsalted butter in a separate pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the marinated chicken breasts and cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  • Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes. Then, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the simmering sauce and stir to coat them evenly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the chicken to absorb the flavors of the sauce.
  • Serve the dish over steamed rice or with warm naan bread. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Notes

  • For a milder version, reduce or omit the cayenne pepper.
  • Feel free to add vegetables such as bell peppers or peas to the dish for more variety.
  • Substitute chicken with paneer or tofu for a vegetarian alternative.
  • Adjust the seasonings to your taste preference.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.