Hiii!!! I’m finally back with a recipe. It’s been a long time. The holidays got in the way, and to be quite honest, sleep has taken priority over almost everything else lately. Having a 9 month old baby that seems to hate sleep means that I’m napping during the day and going to bed early, which leaves very little time for blogging. So hopefully this delicious recipes for Quick and Easy, Healthier Butter Chicken makes up for my absence lately.
On another note, I’ve had a huge number of new subscribers to the blog, as well as new followers on Facebook and Pinterest lately. So I just want to say HI! and welcome and thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy cooking and writing!
In my mind, Butter Chicken is to Indian food what chicken teriyaki is to Japanese food. Or pad thai to Thai food. These are the dishes that are familiar to many people in North America when they think of these various ethnic cuisines. And most people like them – they’re not too spicy or unusual, and they taste good. Unfortunately, traditional butter chicken is often laden with saturated fat, from large amounts of butter (or ghee) and cream added to the dish. This dish may not be prepared in a traditional way, but the amount of fat (and calories) it contains is much lower, and it is much quicker to prepare. Plus it still tastes delicious! Win-win!
To make this dish so quick and easy to prepare, it starts with pre-cooked chicken. I love to use store-bought rotisserie chicken because it’s the ultimate in fast, already seasoned and usually very affordable ($5 at Costco for a 3lb chicken – how can you go wrong??). You can buy one, put it in the fridge and shred it with your fingers once it’s cooled down. And if you don’t think you’re going to use it right away, just put the shredded meat into a freezer bag for later. Alternatively, just cook up some chicken breasts or thighs and use that in your butter chicken. Bonus if it’s from planned leftovers.
While this dish is fast and healthier, it’s certainly not lacking in flavor, which it gets from onion, garlic, ginger, chili powder, turmeric and cinnamon. The chopped onions and diced tomatoes are left whole which makes for a chunkier sauce than what I usually encounter in Indian food restaurants. I like chunky, but if you don’t, you could always puree the sauce before adding the chicken.
If you’re going to serve your butter chicken with rice or quinoa, make sure you get it cooking it before you start cooking the butter chicken, because the dish comes together so quickly, it might be done before the rice. Otherwise, it’s great with naan bread (you can buy it in most well-stocked stores) or even tortillas or pitas. Serve with salad or your favorite cooked veggies for a complete meal.
Quick and Easy, Healthier Butter Chicken
- 1 pounds rotisserie chicken or 1 1/2 cooked chicken meat
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 Tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can diced tomatoes undrained, 14.5oz
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt see note
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- Remove all the meat from the rotisserie chicken and shred it into bite sized pieces. Discard skin and bones. Set meat aside. If using cooked chicken, shred it into bite sized pieces and set aside.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chili powder, turmeric, cinnamon and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in diced tomatoes with their juice, brown sugar and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in evaporated milk, Greek yogurt and shredded chicken. Simmer for 5 more minutes until chicken is heated through.
- Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve with white or brown rice, quinoa or Naan bread.
Butter Chicken is often laden with saturated fat (and calories) from large amounts of ghee (clarified butter) and cream. Because this dish uses only a small amount of butter, and swaps cream for evaporated milk and Greek yogurt, it saves you a lot of saturated fat. The nutrition information is for the butter chicken only, and doesn’t account for rice or whatever you decide to serve with it.