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Chukar Murgh Makhani (Butter Chukar)

Chukar Murgh Makhani (Butter Chukar)

Murgh Makhani made with chukar a wild bird of India

Chukar is native to India and a fitting choice for this classic Indian recipe.

Alectoris Chukar are endemic to those big mountains that hem India’s northern border. Chukar have become a welcomed wild bird icon of the American west and it seems fitting to adapt this northern Indian classic for use with a bird I have come to love. If you’re familiar, butter chicken stands on its own merits as a hearty, warming dish, but with a brace of plump, nicely-brined chukar meat, this version will exceed your expectations by a wild margin.

Disclaimer: This is one of those “one more ridge” recipes. The staged preparation can make it feel a little arduous. However, I’m willing to guarantee that it’s worth the effort, particularly if you double the batch with the intention of saving a healthy portion for leftovers that make for an easy midweek meal or a warm welcome after a cold trudge in canyon country.

A close up of butter chukar on a plate.

Chukar Murgh Makhani (Butter Chukar)

Chukar is native to India and a fitting choice for this classic Indian recipe.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 4-5 chukar
  • 1 (14 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or 1 tbs butter + 1 tbs oil)
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger grated
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • Salt to taste


  • In a bowl, combine the cubed breast meat and legs of 4-5 chukar along with 1/2 cup yogurt, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tbsp finely grated ginger, 2 tbsp garam masala, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder and a healthy pinch of kosher salt. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour to overnight.
  • Heat oil to sizzling in a large pot, then add the marinated meat in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook until lightly browned on the outside and set aside.
  • Add butter to the pan. Sweat the onions for 5 to 10 minutes. Once they’re translucent and starting to brown, stir in the remaining garlic and ginger. Then, a minute or two later, add the remaining coriander, cumin, chili powder, garam masala, and tomatoes. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Add 1 cup of cream and, using an immersion or a countertop blender, puree the sauce. Return the sauce to the pan along with the chukar and let it simmer until the meat is sufficiently cooked.
  • Finish with chopped cilantro and your choice or rice, cooked cauliflower, or naan.
Keyword Chukar
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