I finally did it. After years of experimentation and an assortment of varying failures, I pulled off butter chicken so good that I found myself compelled to make it three times in one week.
Even my kids who usually hate anything curry related devoured it.
I’m not sure why it took so long or was so hard to get the flavours right, I’ve followed countless online recipes only to be disappointed in the end.
I’ve gone to specialty grocery stored searching out ingredients like menthi leaves or garam masala, certain they would be the smoking gun, finally pulling everything together and replicating the savory, sweet, tangy and slightly spicy combination I had come to enjoy in restaurant versions. My kitchen would always smell glorious, but when I would taste the finished product it was a major let down. The flavours would never live up to the promising aroma and I would be forced to rely on a mountain of basmati rice to help wash it down.
Since dropping grains from my diet there is not room for error in curries or sauces, it has to taste good enough to be eaten solo or I might as well save my ingredients and make something fool proof.
Still, there is something about butter chicken that brings upon occasional cravings so intense the only solution is a big bowl of hot creamy buttery goodness. And with my new primal way of eating, to heal my autoimmunity, takeout is generally not an option.
In this recipe I used real grass fed butter because I have done an elimination diet and found my body actually loves the stuff, but for the yogurt I found plain almond yogurt worked beautifully. If you eat dairy, go for some really good full fat Icelandic yogurt, and always choose grass fed.
I also discovered what I believe to be the secret ingredient for nailing this flavour profile… pumpkin pie spice! I added it on a whim and it really brought this bad boy together. I know its not traditional, but try if you try it, let me know what you think.
Butter chicken (that tastes good enough to eat) grain free – primal – whole 30.
2 pasture raised chicken breasts
1 small yellow onion
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken or beef stock
1 cup full fat coconut milk
grass fed butter or butter replacement
vegan or grass fed plain yogurt
1 clove garlic
1″ piece ginger
1tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp pataks curry paste
pinch menthi leaves
coconut sugar or honey
cilantro for garnish
cooking oil (olive or coconut)
- Mix 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 heaping tsp curry paste and juice of 1/2 lemon into a marinade. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Marinade whole chicken breasts for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- Heat oil in a saucepan and lightly sauté cumin seeds and chopped onion and cook until soft.
- Toss in spices, remaining curry paste, ginger and garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
- Add Roma tomatoes and stock.
- Bring it back up to a simmer and place whole chicken breasts and the yogurt marinade in the saucepan. Transfer to a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquids, add 3/4 cup of coconut milk and 2 tbsp. butter to the rest of the ingredients.
- Once the butter has melted, use an immersion blender (or any old blender will do) to puree the onion tomato liquid mix into a creamy sauce.
- Finally, add the sugar and menthi leaves, shred the chicken back into the sauce and drizzle the remaining coconut milk over the curry.
- Top with fresh cilantro if desired.
I made a pot of basmati rice for my grain loving family, but ate my curry over a bed of wilted spinach and a side of aloo gobi. It was so good I didn’t miss the grains at all. Seriously.
Next time I’m going to serve it with a warm, soft platter of paleo naan bread in an effort to encourage my family to eat less grains.
Both my Aloo Gobi and Paleo naan recipes are coming soon!