The Best Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken ImageThis one is for all you Indian lovers out there who love nothing more than to indulge in a warming, hearty bowl of butter chicken on a cold wintery night. I too, am one of those people. I find the mixture of exotic spices and coconut cream create such a taste sensation resulting in me being drawn to this dish time and time again. Only problem is, until now I have found it really difficult to create a butter chicken at home that did not use either a pre-packaged sauce laden with nasties, or one that required copious amounts of exotic sounding spices that I had no idea how to cook with.

I am sure I am not alone in admitting exotic spices scare me. Prior to a few months ago spices such as garam masala, cardamom, tumeric, coriander and cayenne pepper had never entered my pantry, and yet now they have become some of my key staple spices. These spices are the bomb in terms of creating sensational, authentic Indian inspired dishes from scratch, and they cost next to nothing.

So for those of you that have experienced similar fears regarding the use of exotic spices, I am here to show you that they are actually a real cinch to work with. In fact this recipe is so super simple and so super delicious that your local Indian takeaway joint is in serious danger of going bust if the word spreads that we can actually create an authentic Indian Butter Chicken dish in the comfort of our own homes in under 30 minutes using good quality ingredients and a little known how.

In the event that you are not convinced until you try it for yourself, I suggest rather than spending a heap of money buying copious amounts of each of the spices required for this dish, you may be better off to get yourself to the local food co-op (Flame Tree Community Food Co-op) and just pick up the exact amount of each of the spices you require. That’s the benefit of buying from a bulk food store. You only purchase what you need, saving you money and avoiding unnecessary wastage. The spices and coconut cream required for this recipe will cost you less than $5.00 if you just buy the exact quantities required. Add to that the cost of your chicken thigh fillets and your cauliflower for the ‘rice’ and this dish will feed a family of 4 for under $12.00. You’d be lucky to get one serving of butter chicken from your local takeaway for that much, let alone the rice to go with it!

What’s more, by cooking this dish at home you are in control of what oils are used for the cooking process and you can choose good quality free range chicken full of goodness. You can also play around with the ingredients to really up the ante in terms of your vegie count on this dish adding whatever veg you have in your fridge (think okra, eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, sweet potato).

This dish freezes really well, so why not make extra and freeze in individual portions for a quick, easy go to meal when you have nothing left in your fridge to cook with. Go on, try it tonight.

Inspired by Pete Evans ‘Butter Chicken’ recipe from Family Foods.

Serves 4


  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon each of ground cardamom, ground coriander, ground ginger, ground cumin and ground tumeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 400 grams coconut cream (1 can)
  • 700 grams chicken thigh fillets cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup diced veg (eggplant, okra, zucchini, peas…whatever you have in the fridge)
  • Fresh coriander to serve


  1. Heat 4 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes until translucent. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the garlic and spices. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the salt, lemon juice, coconut cream and mix well.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the chicken and whatever vegies you wish to add and stir until well coated with the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20–25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

To Serve

Garnish with the fresh coriander and serve with either brown rice or try your hand at cauliflower rice. Delish!

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