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“Butter” Chicken

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I love Indian food and curries. It’s saucey and spicy and there are so many different flavors and varieties.

Butter Chicken 1

Honestly, though, I have zero idea of how to authentically make Indian food. I’ve looked up recipes and done research on more than one occasion. I learned that Chicken Tikka Masala was supposedly concocted in the UK, not India (according to wikipedia, anyway). Crazy, huh?! Interestingly enough, one of my favorite restaurants to order a curry dish at is actually a British pub style place. I guess that all sort of ties in.

On the cooking side of Indian food, I’m usually disappointed when I look up recipes for my favorite Indian foods. Almost all of the curries have heavy cream, half and half, or sour cream. Those are some of my “no way” ingredients. First off, I try to avoid cooking with a ton of dairy – like, cups and cups in a single recipe. Second, I just try to avoid unnecessary fat and unnecessary processed foods. Third, is heavy cream or sour cream really the authentic way to make a curry? Like I said above, I have zero idea what makes an authentic curry dish, but for whatever reason I can’t imagine that the original version has lots of heavy cream or sour cream in it. Maybe us Americans just put that in to make the heat level manageable?

So, this is my Kristin-approved “Butter” Chicken.  Butter is in quotation marks because there is actually no butter in this recipe. I used some pretty generic ingredients for the flavor: Thai Kitchen curry paste, some curry powder, and a bit of cayenne pepper for some heat. The base is tomato paste. I thinned the sauce out a bit with coconut milk and a tablespoon of greek yogurt.

Butter Chicken 2

In the end I had this warm, bubbling, spicy red sauce. Authentic Indian food? Not even close. But, it was delicious. I sprinkled it with a bit of chopped cilantro and we ate it with fresh naan bread. You can serve this with rice, too, but the naan bread totally takes this curry to another level. After we ate probably 3/4 of the recipe (luckily, Steve and I are blessed with quick metabolisms!) we were fully, happy, and, strangely, very sleepy. I hope this dish is as enjoyed in your home as it has been in mine!

Butter Chicken 3

“Butter” Chicken

Serve this spicy dish with rice or homemade GF naan bread.
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs ginger, mnced
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4c + 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 12 oz coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp red curry paste
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbs garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaping Tbs plain greek yogurt
  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add the chicken to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is opaque and cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet, reducing heat the medium. When the oil is warm add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook until soft (about 3-5 minutes), stirring frequently to keep the garlic from burning.
  3. Add the tomato paste and coconut milk to the pan and stir to combine. If at any point the mixture is boiling or bubbling turn the heat down to low.  Next stir in the curry pasta, curry powder, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. When the mixture is combined, add the greek yogurt. If you’d like a thinner sauce than what results stir in more greek yogurt.
  4. Stir the chicken back into the pan and serve with rice and/or naan bread.

About Kristin

I have always loved to cook, and have been eating and cooking gluten free since 2007. I aim to make delicious, frugal and healthy meals that will be appealing to GF and non-GF eaters alike!

One response »

  1. Pingback: Dish #1: “Butter” Chicken | Around the World in 80 Plates

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