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.

Ideas for other “How To” features? E-mail

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 🙂