Go “fakeaway” with this quick and easy butter chicken recipe

7 May 2024

Aussies spend an average of $3,000 a year on takeaway*, which is why knowing how to turn a few budget buys into a great “fakeaway” meal can make a difference to your savings. “If you think about how much this would cost as takeaway, you’re looking roughly at a minimum of $20 per serve," says Adam. "Here, you’re getting a family dinner for less than the price of one serving.”

Adam Liaw’s fakeaway express butter chicken recipe is loaded with flavour and ready in about 30-60 minutes. That's quicker than most takeaway restaurants could get it to your front door.

Turns out, there are budget secrets for maximising flavour – using some basic spices that really pack a punch. Adam’s recipe uses pantry staples, such tomato passata and paprika, so you can keep the recipe authentic even when you’re trying to keep your food costs down.

He also has an easy recipe for naan bread that makes the perfect side to this fakeaway takeaway.

Adam Liaw's express butter chicken with naan recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes (tip, allow time to let the marinade develop overnight and 1 hour for the dough to rise).
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves 6


  • 800g chicken thigh fillets
  • 30g butter
  • 1 small brown onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1cm ginger, grated
  • 500ml tomato passata
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp crushed dried fenugreek leaves (also known as kasuri methi), optional


  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup thick yoghurt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Quick naan

  • 2 cup self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup thick yoghurt
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted


  1. Trim the thigh fillets of some of the visible fat and combine with the remaining marinade ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, heat a barbecue or grill pan over high heat and grill the chicken for about three minutes on each side until charred. The chicken doesn’t need to be completely cooked through.
  2. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about six to eight minutes until fragrant and dry but not yet browned. Add the tomato passata and mix well. Cover and simmer for about eight minutes. Season with the salt and sugar to taste then stir through the thickened cream. Simmer for a further four minutes.
  3. Cut the chicken into three-centimetre pieces and stir through the sauce mixture. Simmer for three minutes then stir through the garam masala and fenugreek leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning.

    For the naan:
  4. Combine the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and then add the yoghurt and salt in the centre. Mix well, gradually bringing the flour into the yoghurt then knead the dough inside the bowl until it’s smooth. Refrigerate for an hour. Divide the dough into eight portions and roll into balls. On a floured surface, roll each of the balls into half-centimetre thick rounds. Heat a grill pan or frying pan until very hot. Cook the naan for about two minutes each side in the dry pan and then brush liberally with melted butter to serve.

For more recipes that are big on flavour but gentle on the household budget, don’t forget to tune into The Brighter Side on Saturday at 6pm. We’ll be adding new recipes here online every week so you can try them at home! 

* Source: Average weekly spend on takeout food by app or service 2023, Statista

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