Chicken Makhani

Quick Look_______________

This Indian curry is creamy, spicy, and has a great flavor. This would be something exciting and different from the standard dinners. One your students will remember. Once I perfect my naan recipe and techniques, I will post as a compliment to this dish. Serve with rice.
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: about 45mins
  • Difficulty: intermediate/easy- make sure you get the thickness right with the cornstarch. This may require some practice.
  • Labor Intensity: Could do alone, but an extra hand would be nice.
  • 30 servings, adjust by 1.5x if your group tends to eat multiple servings.


  • vegetable oil (peanut if you have it)
  • 5 onions [$1- $2, safeway]
  • 1 bunch of garlic [$0.50 or less]
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice [2-3 lemons - less than $1]
  • 1/3 cup ginger [2 inch piece of ginger - about $1]
  • 3 TB Garam Masala [$4 for a small bottle in the spice section of Nob Hill at Fruitvale, or $5 at Lucky]
  • 3 TB Chili Powder [about $3 a bottle if you don't have it]
  • 2 TB ground Cumin [about $3 a bottle if you don't have it]
  • 2 cups plain yogurt [$1-$1.50]
  • 8 cups 1/2 and 1/2 [$3.19 @ smart and final]
  • 6 cups tomato puree [12 cup can is $2-$3 at Costco or about $3-$4 at smart and final]
  • 1-2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup (give or take) cornstarch
  • 10 lbs boneless chicken or cheap meat under $2/lb [about $20]
  • parsley for garnish [optional]
  • Total: somewhere around $30.00-$35.00


  • Cut meat into 1 to 2 inch cubes, or you can use whole chicken drumstick, thigh..etc if desired.
  • Saute onion and garlic in some oil until onion is clear, don't burn garlic.
  • Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add tomato puree and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in half and half and yogurt.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While curry is cooking, stir fry the meat until fully cooked.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in very little cold water and add to curry.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
  • Combine meat with curry.
  • Sprinkle with parsley for garnish [optional]

Tom's Tips and Tricks_______________

If the tomato puree isn't cooked enough, it will be a bit strong. Cooking the tomato longer will break down the strong tomato flavor. Taste before adding 1/2 and 1/2 and yogurt.


Ulia said…
Hi Tom, I tried this recipe, and the curry tasted great! I used tomato paste instead of puree (just bc I had tomato paste handy), and I didn't need the starch to thicken the curry bc the paste didn't add add watery-ness to the curry. Just a thought.
Thanks for the recipes!
tomkim said…
That's a great suggestion. It would take out the cornstarch step and simply things. Thanks!
ray wong said…
The recipe was a hit Tom! Everyone loved it. Thanks. Some feedback: The tomato puree I used was pretty strong (cento brand from nob hill). Had to add 3tbs sugar at the end to counter acidity. Also added 1.5x of the masala, cumin, and 2X chili powder to get more flavor, guess the stuff i got was kind of weak. Also added more yogurt to get it creamier. Added 3 tbs salt. also the half and half kind of congealed into tiny clumps when i poured it in, was that suppose to happen?
tomkim said…
hmmm, i'm guessing the acid from the tomato caused the half and half to denature. I guess that's something to watch out for when making this recipe. thanks for the feedback.

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