Butter Chicken

My brother is four years younger than I am and wasn’t really taught certain life skills such as cooking and cleaning up after himself. So, when he went off to college and into his own apartment, about the only thing he could make was hamburgers and Kraft Spaghetti out of a box. He ended up relying on his new college friends to help him learn and being that they were mostly students from India, he became quite the Indian cuisine chef and could eat it everyday.

Me? I’m just the opposite. I managed to somehow make it to 50+ years of age without ever trying any Indian or Middle Eastern foods. I ran across this recipe and thought it sounded simple enough, I love chicken, and I had no trouble identifying most of the ingredients.

The one thing I wasn’t immediately familiar with was the garam masala, which is just a combination of other more recognizable spices. I used a pre-mixed blend in a bottle from McCormick that had ground black pepper and the 4 C’s of Indian cooking: coriander, cardamom, cumin, and cinnamon.

My plan was to serve it over Basmati rice, but in true Sunny form, I ended up tripping (over my own yoga pants no less) and spilled the whole packet of rice all over the floor. I always have brown rice on hand, so I at least had something to use.

It was edible. I’m not saying it was bad, just that I’ve never cooked with this type of spice combination, so I’m not really sure if that’s what its supposed to taste like or not. There was one flavor that stood out which wasn’t really pleasant to me and I’m thinking it may have been the coriander (also known as cilantro though technically, the leaves are cilantro and the seeds are coriander). There is actually a genetic marker which makes cilantro smell bad and taste soapy to some people, so that may be why I can’t gush about my enjoyment of the dish. It was tasty enough that I’d make it again, but I’d make my own garam masala, cut out the coriander, and reduce the ginger.

As predicted, the Boy wasn’t having anything to do with it once he took a look at it. The Hillbilly shoveled in about half a bowl and when I asked him if he wanted the leftovers for dinner the next night…declined, opting for a fried bologna sandwich instead.

Also, the recipe calls for you to make the sauce before putting it in the crock pot. Its always been my understanding that the long simmering times of a crock pot makes the seasonings stronger. I do believe I’d like this recipe after making some adjustments to suit my taste and I’m glad we gave it a try.

Crock Pot Butter Chicken


  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces**
  • 1 or 2 medium yellow onions, dicedButter Chicken 1
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped and peeled gingerroot
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, stems removed

Spray the inside of the crock pot with no-stick cooking spray (Pam).

In a skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown it on both sides. Scoop the chicken out with a slotted spoon and place into the crock pot.

Add the onions to the remaining butter and cook until softened. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Add the garam masala and cook for

Butter Chicken 2

another minute, stirring. Mix in the tomato paste and salt, stirring for another 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and mix well.

Spoon the mixture over the chicken in the crock pot and stir to coat all the chicken pieces. Cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours.

Thirty minutes before serving, mix in the whipping cream and continue to cook. Serve over Basmati rice and garnish with de-stemmed cilantro leaves.

**I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and it ended up very dry. Use the thighs if possible.


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    1. I’d never heard of it till I got my genetic report. But with that, who knows if it’s actually backed up by science. I have heard people either love it or hate it.


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