Recipe: Butter chicken (healthy)

We all love ourselves a good ol’ butter chicken, evidenced by the fact that I have posted two recipes on my blog! Butter chicken can be pretty indulgent, however not with this recipe. This recipe is surprisingly light without compromising any of the rich flavours that butter chicken offers – after all, it’s mostly in the spices. The vegetables add some extra nutrients, and the fact they are grated means they are barely noticeable. Great for feeding kids or reluctant boyfriends, who just want the authentic takeaway version. Serve with the turmeric rice to brighten up the dish, and the crunchy fresh cucumber to provide some contrasting textures.

Collect for the turmeric pea rice

  • 1.5 c basmati rice
  • 2 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 2 c frozen peas
  • 1 T butter

Collect for the butter chicken

  • 650 g chicken thigh, boneless, skinless and chopped into 2 – 3 cm pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 T each of garam masala, ground cumin, smoked paprika
  • 1 t ground coriander, ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground chilli
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t ginger
  • 1/2 T lemon zest
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 c grated pumpkin
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 small can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 c coconut cream

Cucumber mint salad

  • cucumber, match sticks
  • 2 T chopped mint leaves
  • 2 T chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/2 lemon zest, juice of whole lemon
  • splash of olive oil


  1. Combine rice, water, turmeric and some salt into a medium-sized pot and bring to the boil. Cook rice for approximately 15 minutes, remove from heat but leave the lid on for a further 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, combine the chicken with onion, spices, garlic, ginger, lemon zest and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes in a medium pan. Don’t worry if the chicken isn’t yet cooked, there is still plenty of time for it to finish.
  3. Stir in the grated pumpkin, carrot, tomatoes, tomato paste and cream. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes or until sauce is reduced slightly and chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine all the cucumber salad ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Fluff up turmeric rice with a fork, and combine with butter and peas.
  6. Garnish with coriander.



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