Chicken is one of those meats you can experiment with and never run out of ideas.
Such is its versatility. We have roasted chicken, rotisserie chicken, America’s favorite fried chicken, and so on.
But one of the best ways to enjoy chicken is undoubtedly butter chicken.
Butter chicken is a dish unique to India.
It is made by cooking chicken with butter, tomato puree, and other spices.
However, you can find varieties of it worldwide which are enjoyed differently.
But nothing beats the original butter chicken and its flavor.
Those who haven’t tasted it might wonder, “what does butter chicken taste like?”.
Well, we’re here to discuss that. Let’s dive in.
What is Butter Chicken?
Butter chicken is a mainstay in Indian cuisine.
It is a chicken dish marinated and cooked in a special tomato-based sauce.
You will find them at almost every Indian dinner party table or wedding.
But butter chicken is not restricted to India alone.
Different cultures worldwide have taken the recipe, adding their twist.
This creamy dish is the brainchild of Kundan Lal Jaggi and Kundan Lal Gujral.
They founded the Moti Mahal restaurant in 1947 and began serving the delicious chicken dish shortly.
The recipe was born accidentally when the cooks left the leftover chicken in a buttery tomato gravy.
Ever since then, it has become a hit with foodies all over the world.
The British colonists took it with them, and before long, it became a favorite.
Traditional ingredients include chicken, butter, tomato, ginger, yogurt, and garlic.
As with several Indian dishes, you can add spices like garam masala, cumin, cinnamon, etc.
What Does Butter Chicken Taste Like?
Butter chicken, or murgh makhani, tastes like no other chicken dish.
As the name suggests, it has a creamy, tangy, buttery taste.
These flavors are further enhanced by the different spices and masalas used.
It is a savory dish but also provides the right amount of sweetness.
And it is all thanks to the special tomato-based sauce.
Besides the sweetness, it also adds a tangy and pleasingly sour flavor with each bite.
The sweet and spicy flavors complement each other and aren’t overpowering.
Because of the spices, we also get a curry flavor, another Indian heavyweight dish.
Butter chicken has a 50-50 mix of sweet and spicy.
But you can constantly adjust the spice level to your liking.
But be careful not to add too much, as excessive spiciness will cancel out the creaminess and sweetness.
Some variations also contain nutty and aromatic flavors.
Such recipes have spices like cinnamon and cloves and nuts like cashew, peanuts, etc.
The result is an even more enhanced buttery taste and fragrant essence.
When we talk about butter chicken, many people compare it with chicken tikka masala.
Tikka masala is another delicious chicken dish.
But there is a huge difference between the two dishes.
First, tikka masala uses oil, while butter chicken uses butter.
Plus, tikka masala is spicier and also features onions along with the tomato sauce.
All in all, they look similar in texture and are cooked similarly except with different ingredients.
But newbies will find similarities in taste.
Only hardcore butter chicken fans can distinguish between the two excellent dishes.
How to Cook and Serve Butter Chicken?
Now, we come to the interesting part, i.e., cooking and serving this fantastic dish.
While there are several recipe twists, nothing beats the simple and traditional method.
Cooking butter chicken is nothing complicated.
First, you want to marinate your chicken in a lemon, yogurt, ginger, and masala paste.
And you want to use a clay oven, also known as a tandoor, to cook it.
The clay oven cooks the chicken evenly, giving it its signature taste and texture.
And the best way is to cook the chicken and gravy separately.
If you cook them together, your chicken will tenderize, but the gravy will burn.
Butter chicken is traditionally served with rice dishes.
They go well with plain cooked basmati rice.
But you can use lemon rice, or chitranna, for an infusion of North and South Indian flavors.
Another dish that pairs well with butter chicken is naan bread.
The subtle bread with creamy chicken is a match made in heaven.
You can tear your naan and scoop up the gravy while enjoying the delicious chicken.
If you don’t have traditional ingredients lying around, you can use substitutes.
You can replace ghee with any vegetable oil.
Curry powder also works as an excellent alternative for garam masala.
Plus, you can also replace fresh tomatoes with canned tomatoes.
Chicken thighs can also be replaced with breasts.
Everyone loves the taste of butter chicken.
It is creamy, rich, spicy, and sweet at the same time.
It is hard to find this blend of flavors in other chicken dishes.
And if you want the genuine butter chicken taste, visit an Indian restaurant (in India).
Other variants use too much or too little, which removes some of the originality.