Pressure Cooker Perfection: Butter Chicken in a Snap with Shan Mix

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Murgh Makhani – known affectionately to many around the world simply as “Butter Chicken” – is truly a crown jewel of Indian cuisine. Originating from the vibrant streets of Old Delhi, this rich and fragrant curry has captured hearts with its silky blend of creamy textures, lively aromatic spices and succulent chicken simmered to perfection in a tomato-coconut sauce.

Transporting even the busiest of home cooks to the bustling food stalls of Daryaganj with just one bite, Butter Chicken brought Indian food to the world table -from the street corners of Manila to the back streets of London. Like any timeless classic though, this royal curry was never meant to take all day! Traditional Butter chicken can be time-consuming to make the old way by simmering the sauce low and slow.

Crafting the Authentic Butter Chicken

As the mama always says, it is important to know the rules before breaking them. Here is the basic butter chicken meal prep for making an authentic butter chicken. Like cooking curry or laksa, there is a host of hard to find spices on the list which is why most mamas shy away from cooking them. Fortunately, the instant packets already did the work for us so no need to worry on that front.

Essential Ingredients

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are preferred for their tenderness and flavor.
  • Butter Chicken Marinade: A mixture of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and traditional spices including garam masala, cumin, and turmeric.
  • Sauce: The heart of the dish, featuring tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and a bevy of spices, enriched with cream and butter for a luxurious texture.

Step-by-Step Preparation

  1. Marinating the Chicken: Begin by marinating the chicken in a blend of yogurt and spices. This process not only tenderizes the chicken but also infuses it with robust flavors.
  2. Grilling the Chicken: Traditionally, the chicken is grilled to perfection, acquiring a charred exterior that adds depth to the dish.
  3. Simmering the Sauce: The sauce is prepared by cooking down tomatoes with garlic, ginger, and spices until thickened, followed by the addition of cream and butter for a velvety finish.
  4. Combining Chicken and Sauce: The grilled chicken is then simmered in the sauce, allowing it to absorb the flavors and become succulent.

Easy Butter Chicken Cooking Tips

So when a hankering for the nostalgia of Butter Chicken strikes mid-week, fear not – I’m sharing my secret locker of pantry-friendly ingredients that give this storied curry new life as a quick weeknight rescue. You’ll be swept away to the bazaars without ever leaving your kitchen, I promise. Sometimes the simplest swaps can unlock true culinary magic.

A few things to note – here in Marinduque, it can be tough to find all the specialty ingredients called for in traditional recipes. I make do with what’s available. For example, coconut milk adds extra richness and creaminess in place of heavy cream which is hard to buy here. And if there’s no alternative, I use instant products that I can usually order online -whether Lazada or Shoppee. Which is where the Shan Butter Chicken comes in. Ordered the butter chicken packet from Shopee here. And in a pinch, tomato paste in a pack also works instead of fresh tomatoes. The flavor is slightly different but still totally delicious.

Which is alright because according to history, Butter Chicken’s inception can be traced back to the 1950s in the kitchens of the iconic Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi when it was created serendipitously by chefs seeking to repurpose leftover tandoori chicken and ending up creating the famous butter chicken sauce. So worry not about tradition and let your heart or palate, find what is the best butter chicken recipe for you.

Save Time Making This Classic Indian Dish With A Pressure Cooker

Also, as someone living in Marinduque far from the big cities, I’m always looking for hacks to make meals faster using the tools I have on hand. That’s where my trusty stove top pressure cooker comes in!

By searing the chicken right in the pot and then pressure cooking it in a creamy tomato and coconut milk sauce, I can get this restaurant-quality butter chicken dinner on the table in under an hour. No more standing over a pot for hours waiting for the flavors to develop. The high heat of pressure cooking infuses all that rich tomato and spice goodness into the chicken so fast.

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe using an Shan Butter Chicken Instant Mix


  • 1 kg chicken, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 500 g tomato sauce + 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp lemon or calamansi juice
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Shan Butter Chicken Mix
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or 1 Nestle All Purpose Cream packet)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup butter
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Prepare the Butter Chicken marinade. Mix Shan Butter Chicken Mix, lemon juice, yogurt, oil and apply to the meat cubes. Marinate for 1-3 hours.
  2. Heat up your pressure cooker pot and add the marinated meat. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat and sear the meat on all sides. Do it in batches if its too crowded.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Secure the lid and close the pressure release valve. Cook on medium then switch on low heat once it starts whitling. Cook for about 15 minutes. Release pressure. Allow it to release pressure naturally for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Open the pressure cooker, turn back on heat, and add butter. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
  5. Add coconut cream. Stir to combine and allow to simmer gently.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Remove from heat. Serve hot.

That’s it! Restaurant-quality butter chicken made super fast in under an hour using a pressure cooker. Clean up is also a breeze since everything is cooked right in one pot. The rich, complex flavors really develop during pressure cooking time. Serve with butter chicken with rice or Naan bread and soak up those juices!

Butter Chicken Variations

Here are five variations to keep the curry cravings coming back for more.

Chicken Tikka Masala Butter Chicken
Creaminess gets kicked up a notch with a whole jar of tikka masala simmered into the sauce. Bone apple teeth!

Honey Butter “Chicken”
Swapping chicken for firm tofu or jackfruit makes for a vegan-friendly twist. A drizzle of honey heightens the natural sweetness.

Mango Butter Chicken
Summertime calls for juicy ripe mango diced and stirred in during the last five minutes of cooking. Tropical twist!

Kerala-Style Coconut Curry Butter Chicken
A splash of coconut oil and handful of shredded coconut result in a richer, more complex-flavored curry straight from the spice coast.

Butter Paneer
Cubes of fresh homemade paneer star instead of chicken for an equally indulgent cottage cheese curry sure to please vegetarians.

Spice up your butter chicken routine with one of these fun takes! Variety keeps things interesting in the kitchen and on the plate. Let me know if any of these inspire you to mix it up next time. Creativity in the curry pot is what keeps things exciting!

Yummy! Let me know if you give it a try!

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