From my first visit to India as an excited 14 year old, I’ve been a huge lover of Indian food. Both times I went I was vegetarian/vegan and I loved that you can eat there in abundance with so much flavor and excitement in food and never miss the meat. A good curry in Balham is always one of my first stops on arriving back in London. When we met Jared had never tried Indian food and well into the first year of being married he was more than happy to let me get my ‘foreign food fix’ without him. Then one day, the kind selfless man took me on a date to our local Indian restaurant and (thankfully) fell in love with it himself. Actually I think mostly he just fell in love with butter chicken, but that works for me.
So one day I thought I’d be a great wife and recreate it at home. It was only after promising it to my happy husband that I discovered our local store doesn’t carry the spice blends Butter Chicken needs and I ended up with 25 little bags from the bulk section, painstakingly making the blends myself. Way too much work. They are now my request for anyone coming from England. (They’re also easy to find in larger grocery stores and on Amazon here and here. Phew.)
Looking at a recipe I was amazed by how much butter and heavy cream it’s possible to cram into one dish! I wanted to try and clean it up a bit so I experimented with less and less butter and we’ve now moved over to this ‘butter-less butter chicken’. It is coconut based, fairly simple to make and has a more balanced fat content than the original (I’m not anti fat or butter but I’m still not sure a dish should be 75% butter and heavy cream) – and it’s still amazingly delicious and passes the husband test. I’m currently snacking on it cold as leftovers from the fridge as I blog. Still amazing.
For two people:
1/2 pound chicken thighs (or breast but I do thighs for price)
4 tbsp coconut oil (or organic grass fed butter)
1/2 onion, grated
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
Salt to taste
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tbsp tandoori masala
Cook the onion and garlic in 2 tbsp coconut oil until soft. Into the pan add the coconut milk and tomato sauce with the garam masala, cayenne pepper, salt and remaining coconut oil and simmer on a low heat. While that is simmering, cut the chicken into cubes and coat with the tandoori masala, then bake it on a baking sheet at 350F for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Once it’s done, add the chicken into the tomato sauce, mix and continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Jared has his with brown rice and I eat it with salad, or in my fingers cold from the fridge, naturally.
*I like to make a few meals worth and freeze it for easy meals on more rushed days or I’ll make enough for a lunch the next day too.
*You can also add in veggies or remove the chicken completely, just treat the veggies as the chicken and bake them with the garam masala and a little coconut oil for a vegan option!