Indian food is tough for those who can’t have milk as it is laced with ghee (clarified butter) and cream. After some experimentation and recipe try-outs, I have come up with a dairy free version of Butter Chicken that’s just as good. My secret is coconut milk but don’t worry- you really can’t taste the coconut with everything else. While I want to remain humble, I have to say that it’s just delicious.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Chicken
adapted from my own trial and error UPDATED April 2016
2 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, grapeseed, olive or a mix)
1 onion, very thinly sliced into inch long slices
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 7-8 boneless chicken thighs) chopped into small cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 (28 oz) can stewed, crushed tomatoes and 1 cup tomato sauce (OR 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, 2 Tablespoons tomato paste and 3/4 cup chicken broth)
3 tablespoons sugar
*1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed (optional)
Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions, stir well and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook onions until they become brown and slightly crisp (~20 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside. Heat second Tablespoon of oil in the same pan. Add curry powder and garlic- cook 30 seconds over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add chicken, salt and pepper, tossing lightly to coat with curry oil. Cook for ~6 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add whatever combination of tomato sauce/paste you are using along with the sugar and half the coconut milk and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to low heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk and cook for 3 minutes more. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro over steamed Basmati rice with naan bread and Aloo Gobi on the side.
* I often add a can of chickpeas at the same time as the tomato sauce to add another layer of protein (and stretch the dish). They are almost undetectable at the end and magically disappear into the sauce.
|Chef Jeff sautéing chicken|
|Butter chicken served along with Aloo Gobi, Basmati rice with peas and naan bread|