How to make Chicken Makhani


Florence Graves, business manager for the College of Architecture and Design, who has owned a restaurant in Dubai and earned a chef certification at UT, says cooking is a form of creativity and relaxation for her. Put on your chef hat and join Graves in the kitchen to learn how to prepare chicken makhani.

When I was asked to contribute an Indian recipe, I immediately thought of my award-winning dish from a competition in Dubai in 1993—chicken makhani. However, my cooking adventure took a strange twist when a crucial ingredient was missing, but that’s grilling the chicken before it’s been marinated.

Start with a recipe for tandoori chicken.


  • 5 lbs. of chicken
  • Shan tandoori powder—one box
  • ½ tsp. garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp. ginger paste
  • A pinch of cayenne chili powder
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Juice of one lime

Cut the chicken into one-inch cubes. Mix all the above ingredients and marinade overnight. Grill the chicken pieces until well done and a bit charred to add a smoky flavor.

“This dish can be served garnished with onion rings, lemon wedges, and a little cilantro and goes well with a summer salad, pita bread, and hummus. Now, let’s turn tandoori chicken into chicken makhani.

Chicken Makhani


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick real butter
  • 1 tsp. fresh whole cumin roasted and powdered
  • 2 cans tomato puree
  • Diced tandoori chicken

Take the tandoori chicken and dice it into small, quarter-size pieces. Set aside. Roast whole cumin seeds and crush them in a mortar with a pestle. This is the only way to release the wonderful aroma and taste of cumin (do not use cumin powder). Melt half a stick of butter in a pot and add the tomato puree.

At this point, I went to get tomato puree from the pantry only to discover that I was out. What to do? Get creative! I had made and canned marinara sauce with tomatoes from our garden the previous weekend. Since my husband and I were the only ones that would be having this for dinner I thought, “What the hay, I’ll put in the marinara sauce instead of the tomato puree.” A fusion dish was born.

Now, back to the recipe. Take your tomato puree or marinara-based sauce and add the powdered cumin, heavy cream, and remaining butter and let it simmer for fifteen minutes. Serve with saffron rice.

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One comment on “How to make Chicken Makhani

  1. That looks absolutely mouth watering. Indian is probably our 2nd favorite food, after thai food, but this looks simply wonderful. Wish I could eat some right now :)