Good things to eat

Not so buttery Butter Chicken

Imagine my surprise when I found out that there isn’t actually any butter IN Butter Chicken!

But don’t get your hopes up because it still isn’t exactly “skinny friendly”!

Last Sunday, the Chef and I were busy and running around trying to get everything done and both realized that neither of us was particularly keen on being in charge of dinner.

In fact neither of us could even think of what we might like to eat.  I’m sure you’ve had days like that, where nothing really appeals.

I just knew that I wanted something warm and comforting in my belly after a long day of errands and could picture some nice bowl of something or other while watching the Grammys.

Then I got the bright idea that I would like some Indian take out!  No one has to cook and it’s warm and comforting!  But….trying to find something like that on a Sunday afternoon around these parts can be a challenge.  We stopped by a few of the regular suspects but they were closed on Sundays or wouldn’t be open till much later.


I guess I would just have to make my own damn butter chicken and like it!

As it turned out…..we LOVED it!  Unfortunately it was probably one of those magical alchemy scenarios that I will never be able to recreate exactly again……but thought I’d write it down for you while it’s still fresh.

So it isn’t “technically” a recipe, but it’s what I did at the time and hopefully you can recreate or make your own version even better!

Start with:

  •  skinless, boneless chicken ( as much as is appropriate)

Cut it into 1 x 1 inch chucks and add to a hot skillet or dutch oven with about 2 tbsp olive oil.  Cook on all sides till you no longer see any pink on it.  Then this is where the need for magic spicing powers comes in.  The only thing I can say is a “sprinkle” of each of these in a way that looks like enough.  Does that help?  No.  Well then, anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 tbsp according to taste, of the following:

  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Paprika
  • Tumeric
  • Garam Masala
  • Chili powder
  • Chili flakes
  • salt

In no particular order.

Keep cooking and tossing till all the chicken bits are well coated and then transfer to a heat safe bowl.

Chicken sautéed in spices

Then in the same pan….DON’T clean it….cause you want all the tasty bits from the bottom……toss in:

  • 1 coarsely chopped red onion

Chunky red onion

Cook for a few minutes till the onion starts to get wilty.  Don’t worry if anything sticks or even seems a bit burny because anything stuck will come off later and add a bunch of flavour.

Once the onions have worked a little then add:

  • 3 -5 cloves of minced garlic ( or whatever your garlic tolerance is)
  • aprox 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and minced

Toss those around and get them real friendly with they onion.

carmelizing onion, garlic and ginger

Then add a tin or jar of diced tomatoes.  I have to admit that I only had half of a can that was left over from something else, but I’d wished I’d had a whole can.

The other thing is I had about a tablespoon of dried oregano in with the tomatoes because I bought too much at the bulk section and it simply wouldn’t fit in the jar and I didn’t want to waste it!!  So the oregano is optional, because it isn’t really a traditional Indian spice, but then again, might have been the thing that made the dish!  Hard to tell.

Mix the tomatoes in well with the onions, garlic and ginger.   This is where you are gonna want to start scraping the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan.   Try to get as much of them up at this point.

Let that simmer up a bit and then…… it comes…….the “no butter, butter” of the dish…… will need to add:

  • 1 cup heavy cream ( or more depending on how much you are making)

Stir all the other bits well into it and then bring the whole pot up to a boil then turn it down a little and let it “reduce” as the Chef likes to say.

Reducing the sauce

Once it gets to a nice creamy consistency, turn it down and the add the chicken back in.  Give it a stir and then put the lid on it and let simmer a bit to make sure the chicken is well cooked and all the elements have exchanged phone numbers!

So that’s all fine and dandy but what are you gonna do, just sit there with a big old bowl of butter chicken?  Well, I mean I know I could but…….

Butter chicken

I had some plain old small potatoes in the pantry so I quartered them and boiled them up in some salted water, just to the point of cooked but not so soft that they were ready to mash……if you know what I mean?

While they were boiling, I chopped up some baby spinach and some garlic and added them to a heat safe bowl with some olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper.   Then mixed that stuff up together before adding the boiled potatoes.   This way it would coat the potatoes evenly and with less wear and tear on the potatoes which might be a problem if I added things the other way around.

When the potatoes are done, drain them and toss them with the garlic and spinach mixture then let them sit.

Meanwhile, put on your rice.  Eating Indian food is one of the rare occasions that I actually eat white rice, although I am getting used to the brown basmati rice too.   When cooking the rice, to give it an extra zing, I try to add a few cloves and a couple of pods of cardamom.  But it helps to fish them out again before serving, biting down on either of those can be quite startling.

When your rice is almost ready, heat up a skillet and toss in your potatoes just to warm them up and give them a little colour here and there.

Spinach garlic potatoes

When everything is done, put it all together, and you got yourself one FINE little meal.

Butter chicken with spinach potatoes and rice


Comments on: "Not so buttery Butter Chicken" (3)

  1. I am going to try this one next weekend!

  2. […] I started with the base of my “Butter Chicken” recipe but went the lazy […]

  3. […] that’s required is some left over Butter Chicken, restaurant bought, or home […]

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