If you haven’t tried Chicken Makhani, then I don’t know what planet you’re living on! This dish is probably one of the most famous and most traditional North Indian dishes – pretty much in EVERY restaurant and in EVERY country around the world. It’s very similar to Chicken Tikka Masala, but much creamier and no bell peppers or onion chunks in it.
Chicken Makhani is a mildly spiced curry with a thick, tomato-based gravy and heavy on the butter and cream. Hence, the name “Makhani,” which means butter in the Punjabi language. (And probably the only Punjabi word I know!) It’s really a delicious dish when eaten with Indian breads or rice, but not really one of the healthier dishes, in my book of eats. I’ve made it at home myself plenty of times and used a lot of butter and heavy cream in it to give it that creamy, sweet yet savory taste. My family and I love it!
This week I was trying to plan my “weekly menu” (which don’t be deceived, doesn’t get “planned” as much as I’d like it to) and realized that I am just getting bored of all these saucy, creamy chicken dishes we’ve been having lately. I love the flavors of these chicken dishes, but just not the heaviness and over-creamy textures in the sauces all the time. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a break from the usual.
I decided to try to “bottle” the Chicken Makhani flavor and make a marinade utilizing a lot of the same ingredients with a few twists of my own that could be used in a “baked version of Chicken Makhani.” This recipe was a big success in my home and really easy to make. The best part is that you can make a large batch of this marinade and either freeze it for later use, OR keep it in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks to use sooner. It’s really a great “weekly meal prep” recipe and can be used with shrimp, fish, or like I did, with boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
Baked Chicken Makhani
NEEDED for Makhani Marinade:
- 1 large onion (Vidalia preferred to add to sweetness)
- 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp.of Hot/Mild Curry Paste (Patak Brand used in my recipe)
- 1 medium sized red bell pepper
- 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander/parsley
- 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp of ginger paste
- 1 to 2 tsp of salt
- 1 Tbsp of fresh cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp of fresh cardamom seed
- 1/4 tsp of clove powder or 7-8 fresh cloves
- 1 Jalapeno or 1/2 tsp of hot chili powder (add more if desired)
- 1/4 cup of oil (any type except olive oil) – in place of the “makhani” or butter
**1.5 to 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast.
**Can be used with potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and paneer
- In a large blender, add all ingredients and blend till smooth and creamy in texture. The paste should NOT have any lumps/chunks in it. Blend as needed.
- Add 1/2 portion of the Makhani paste into a large container/Tupperware and add your chicken thighs or chicken breast. (What I do before adding the chicken is “stab meat with a fork” a few times to poke holes into the meat before adding into marinade.)
- Make sure meat is fully covered in marinade and then place in fridge for about 30-60 minutes to “marinate” a little longer.
- Once marinated, remove chicken and place on foil covered baking sheet and place in lower rack of oven on BROIL setting for 40-45 minutes or until fully cooked.
- After time is up, flip chicken and BROIL for another 5-10minutes just to get a little bit of crust on it, but not burn.
- Remove from oven
- Eat hot by putting it on top of a buttered garlic naan, and add some garlic chutney, thinly sliced onions and plain yogurt on it.
- Roll up and enjoy!
NOTE: For Chicken Breast – reduce cooking time by 10 minutes and keep a closer eye on it so it doesn’t dry out during cooking process.
NOTE: For Veggies – try using half-cooked veggies as it reduces cooking time by about 15-20mins and also helps avoid any burning of the marinade during broiling process.
I hope you enjoy the Baked Chicken Makhani as much as my house does!
Remember – you can make this marinade ahead of time and either freeze in freezer-safe containers until ready to use OR keep in a bottle refrigerated for at least 2 weeks. Its a really great time-saver for those weekday meal preps and absolutely delicious at the same time!