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Indian Beer and Butter Chicken

15 minutes to this delicious dinner: Indian Beer and Butter Chicken

There’s a small Indian restaurant in LA, run by an amazing family from Delhi.  They cook family recipes for the masses who line up outside their doors. I’d make a call to this little spot when I was sick, or just too tired to leave the house. I’d place an order and ask if they deliver.

They didn’t, I knew this already. I’d sound sad and disappointed when they reminded me that they didn’t deliver. After a long pause, they’d ask where I lived. Just a few blocks away, I’d tell them.

They’d send their son over, in his old, faded red, Honda civic. He’d deliver it to me, always smiling, and tell me to feel better.

I did this about once a month. I think, towards the end, they were on to me. They knew that I hadn’t forgotten that they didn’t deliver, but they played along anyway.

The generosity, the butter chicken, and the Naan made me a loyal customer. I still miss that chicken, and nothing in Seattle has come close.

So I’ve started to tweak a recipe I got from a friend to try and recreate it. I love this version, even if it doesn’t come from a smiling restauranteur’s son, deliver in a compact economy car.

Beer and Butter Chicken

Yield: 4 servings


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 1 lbs chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala spice mix
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup pale ale
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 7 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • Rice for serving
  • Chopped parsley


  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onions, cooking until softened and starting to brown.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garam marsala, turmeric, ginger, smoked paprika, garlic powder and cayenne, stir to combine.
  4. Add the chicken, cooking until browned (does not need to be cooked through at this point).
  5. Stir in the beer, scraping to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste, then the Greek yogurt. Lower heat, simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve over rice, sprinkle with parsley.
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Patti October 24, 2017 um 2:42 pm

The best Indian I have found in Seattle is Saffron in Northgate, but hands down best Indian in the area is ClayPit in the Mill Creek Town Center. It may not come with a cute son but a very sassy owner who is always up for giving advice.


Jackie October 24, 2017 um 6:04 pm

I’ll check those out, thanks!


Aimee from Run Eat Drink Podcast @runeatdrinkpod October 25, 2017 um 6:46 am

Ok. We are headed to LA next month and would love to feature this restaurant on our podcast. What is the name?


Jackie October 25, 2017 um 9:20 am

Email me! I’ll give you a list of all my favorite place 🙂


Steven November 1, 2017 um 4:42 pm

I made this for the family the other day, and once again you’ve made me look like a hero.


Jackie November 2, 2017 um 10:10 am

Great! So glad you liked it 🙂


Dawn December 3, 2017 um 5:18 pm

We’ve been cheating and using jarred butter chicken sauce for a year now. It’s our quick but comforting dinner, and we thought was delicious especially for premade. I tried this recipe and it’s way better and takes the same amount of time to make. It’s magical. And it makes enough leftovers to keep my tummy happy several times during the busy week. In fact, I’m about to make it again! Way to save my meals again and make me seem like a super fancy cook 🙂


Jackie December 4, 2017 um 10:45 am

Oh good! Glad you liked it 🙂 If (for some reason!) you are out of beer, chicken broth makes a good stand in.


Dawn Crawford December 11, 2017 um 4:52 pm

Good to know! Oddly enough I tend to run out of beer far less often than milk or cereal…mostly because I alway remember to pick that up at the store. 🙂 I think this sauce gets even more flavorful as leftovers. I was sad when I finished my last meal of it. Also – my friend taught me a trick with leftover rice: you can wrap small amounts in plastic wrap and freeze the little bundles. Then you just microwave them for a minute or so and it re-steams the rice. It works great for meal prep. Not sure how dangerous the melty plastic is though. *shrug*


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