chicken makhani (butter chicken)


So, literally this recipe is a Paleo-ized version of a recipe from one of my married daughters that tried it and knew it would be a hit for us with some tweaking. She was most certainly correct! I’ve not had on many occasions eaten or even made Indian food before, but looking at some of the spices used made it seem like it needed to be made and enjoyed often!

Except for the use of butter when browning the chicken, this is all dairy free and this recipe makes quite a bit…because, we enjoy leftovers and often it tastes even better the next day! So it could easily be halved and you’d have plenty to feed 4 to 6! But seriously…just make the recipe and eat it for days after, it’s so good. The spices are so warm and seem especially perfect for this time of year!

Traditionally after the chicken marinates it is grilled or cooked in a tandoor clay oven – so if you happen to have access to one of those amazing ovens, certainly do it that way and let us know how much better it probably tastes…but for us on most busy evenings, this version will do us just fine and we are pretty sure it will for you as well! Grab that InstantPot and get this dinner done in no time! If you want to use a slow cooker, you can easily just saute the chicken on the stop top and toss everything together, cook for probably 4-6 hours on high and then add the cassava flour slurry in and let it come back to high heat, should thicken up nicely as well!

chicken makhani (butter chicken)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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a succulent Indian chicken makhani with a paleo twist




  1. In a medium bowl, toss together chicken, lemon juice and chili powder, let marinate for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic and ginger to blender and mix until this is a fine puree, set aside.
  3. Add butter to InstantPot , select “saute” and when butter is bubbly, add chicken pieces a few at a time and sear until all sides are nicely browned, remove to a bowl and repeat until all pieces are browned and in bowl.
  4. Add cumin, turmeric, paprika and allspice to hot butter and stir rapidly for about 10 seconds. Pour in tomato mixture, add salt, coconut cream and chicken pieces and any juices from the bowl. Stir gently and coat all the chicken pieces.
  5. Cover InstantPot and lock lid, also…make sure pressure knob is in the right position. Cook on “high pressure” for 5 minutes and then let it naturally release for 10-15 minutes. Quick release the rest of the pressure and then turn off.
  6. Remove lid and stir in the garam masala and additional cumin, stir to incorporate.
  7. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cassava flour and water until well combined then pour into pot and stir to combine. Turn InstantPot back on and select “saute” sauce will thicken as it comes to a boil.
  8. Stir in chopped cilantro.
  9. Serve with rice or cauli-rice, garnish with additional chopped cilantro, sliced jalapeño, green onions or daikon radish for some nice crunch!

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