This is dish to help you  and your family enjoy familiar tastes within a much healthier framework. The great thing about this “Butter Chicken” recipe is that it can be done with no butter and no chicken!  My kids had a lot of fun abusing me about this recipe and on our Indian banquet asked that someone pass the “dish formerly known as butter chicken”.

Obviously you can (and probably should) replace the butter beans with nice organic chicken. If you do please select a good chicken which has been well raised, well fed and loved. We also don’t encourage much dairy in your diet, so try and find a good coconut yoghurt for the marinade sauce. If you can’t find coconut yoghurt use a natural Greek yoghurt.  Enjoy this as much healthier than the usual take-away butter chicken!

Ingredients for the marinade:

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup natural coconut yoghurt (unsweetened)

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 x 400mL tins of butter beans or 0.5kg chicken breast fillets, chopped into bite size pieces – pictured below)

Method for the marinade:

Mix all the above ingredients together in a bowl. Add the butter beans or chicken pieces into a baking tray. Pour over the marinade and mix well. Marinate for at least half an hour. Grill in the baking tray for at least 10 minutes on each side or until the chicken is partially cooked. Allow it to cook until JUST before starts to char on the edges (unlike my photo fail on the right!).

Igredients for the sauce:

2 Tbsp organic coconut oil

2 Tbsp tahini (optional)

1/2 brown onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

Seeds from 4-6 cardamom pods (about 1/2 tsp)

1/4 tsp ground cloves (if you have them)

1/2 tsp chilli powder (more if you like it hotter)

1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp of ground cinnamon)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp tumeric

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 Tbsp tamarind puree (optional)

1.5 cups (400mL) diced canned tomatoes, sugar free (puree in a blender if you are using whole tomatoes)

1 large cup pure coconut cream, no preservatives (400mL). The better the quality, the better the taste.

2 cups quinoa seeds, cooked (or wholegrain brown rice if you aren’t yet on the quinoa trail)

Flaked almonds to serve (optional)

Fresh coriander (to serve)

2 carrots, thinly julienned

1 cup green beans, chopped

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced


Cook your wholegrain rice as per instructions. If using quinoa, soak for at least 20 minutes in cold water (preferably alkaline) or overnight if you can. Then drain and rinse well through a strainer. Place in a saucepan with about 2 cups of water and bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-2o minutes. Simmer the quinoa until all the water has evaporated and it is light and fairly dry. It is unlikely you will burn it. Allow it to cool and then ‘fluff’ it up with a fork (shown below).

Cut up your carrots and greens.

For the sauce: Heat the 2 Tbsp coconut oil in a wok or pan and cook onion until browned. Add the tahini until it is mixed in well. Reduce heat to low and add 1 Tbsp of grated ginger and the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the ground coriander, ground cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, garam masala, chilli powder, fenugreek, tumeric, paprika, chili powder and tamarind puree (if using) and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Enjoy the fragrance at this stage – this is what cooking Indian is all about!

Now add the diced tomato (puree if you prefer), carrots and greens and let this simmer on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Now add the chicken and marinade. Just put it all in. Simmer the entire dish now for about 15 minutes. Towards the end, add the coconut cream and mix well. Garnish with flaked almonds and fresh coriander. Serve with your quinoa or brown rice.

For a great Indian night, serve with our Dahl and Tarka dish and the spinach and chickpea curry. Below is the dish made with butter beans:



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