Christmas Butter Chicken Curry Recipe

Twisted’s Christmas Butter Chicken Curry recipe is one of our head chef Tom’s time-honoured festive favourites.

Done in 3 hours

Serves 6

Tom Jackson

Dish by Tom Jackson



For the roast chicken:


1 tspturmeric

1 tspkashmiri chilli powder

1 1/2 tbspneutral oil

4 tbspflaked salt

2fist-sized tight balls of foil

For the Makhani gravy:

75mlneutral oil

6green cardamom pods

2dried bay leaves

1/2cinnamon stick

1/2 tspcaraway seed

1/2 tspcumin seed

2onions, finely chopped

1long green chilli, sliced

3 tbspginger garlic paste

2 tspkashmiri chilli powder

1 scant tspturmeric powder

1 scant tspsmoked paprika

1 1/2 tbspcumin powder

2 tspcoriander seed, ground


90gtomato puree, loosened with water

375gtomato passata

300mlwhipping cream

4 tbsproasted cashew cream

1/2lemon, juiced

100gunsalted butter

2 tbsphoney

1 1/2 tspkasoori methi

Fresh coriander, a handful

Kewra water

Rose water

Salt, to taste

For the Kishmish Pilau:

500gbasmati rice (pref. Tilda), washed and soaked in tepid water for 1 hr, then drained

600mljust-boiled water


100gunsalted butter

75ggolden sultanas

200gjarred chickpeas, drained

1cinnamon stick

Large pinch of saffron, lightly toasted & crushed

2 tbspboiling water

Salt, to taste

For the raita:

3Turkish cucumbers, coarsely grated & salted for 1 hr, then rinsed & squeezed

400gthick greek-style yoghurt

1/2lemon, juiced

Handful mint leaves

1/2 tspcumin seeds, toasted

Curry and Christmas are one of those combinations that we can't get enough of. It really shouldn't work, but it just does! Tom shares one of his favourite Christmas curry recipes of whole butter spatchcock chicken with dangerously good gravy, ideal for Boxing Day.


Spatchcock the chicken, rub all over, place on rack in fridge for 1-3 days. Bring up to room temp - roast 240 20mins, 210 40 mins. Rest 20mins.

For the raita, blend the yoghurt with the mint and combine with the other ingredients.

Make your sauce. Heat the neutral oil in  a heavy-bottomed pot and throw in the cardamom, bay, cinnamon stick. Turn in the fat, then add the cumin seed and caraway seed. After 10 seconds, add the chillies, onions and a good pinch of salt. Cook until richly golden, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat slightly and add the the ginger / garlic paste. Cook it out then add the ground spices. Turn through the base to bloom them. Add water to stop the spices catching. Once evaporated, add the loosened tomato puree and cook out for a few minutes. Add the passata and stir to combine. Taste for salt.

When the fat separates, about 10 minutes, add your creams, kewra and rose waters and bring back up to heat. Add butter, honey, lemon, kasoori methi and coriander. Taste. Good right?

For the pulao, cook your sliced onions slowly in the butter with a good pinch of salt and the cinnamon stick until deeply rich and caramelised, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. To the base, add the chickpeas and sultanas and the drained rice. Over a medium flame, carefully turn the grains of the rice through the butter with a dessert spoon. Once everything is evenly coated in the onion-y butter turn the heat up to high. When you can just hear it sizzling on the bottom of the pot, add the water. Loosely cover the top of the rice / water with greaseproof paper and place on a tight-fitting lid. Cook on high for 31/2 minutes, then lowest flame for 7 minutes. Steam for 4 minutes lid on, then remove lid entirely and allow to cool briefly before turning  out.

Carve your chickens and arrange on a plate, then lacquer with the makhani gravy. Eat with the rice, the raita and naan bread.

What do you think of the recipe?

Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson

Originally hailing from Birmingham, England and with a culinary heritage sprawling around Britain, Tom, the host of Shelf Life and Alphabetti, is a cook from nowhere that takes inspiration from everywhere. Passionate about the shared food experience and the commonalities between supposedly separate cuisines, Tom showcases broad and thorough references in his cooking and has a particular love for spices. He is also obsessed with pasta salads and is currently waiting for Mr. Naga to get in touch regarding his Ambassadorship.

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