Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dairy-Free Indian "Butter" Chicken Recipe

My allergies, including allergies to beans, legumes, dairy, nuts and turmeric, make it difficult to find allergy-safe Indian recipes. When I saw this recipe for Butter Chicken on the Tasty Kitchen website, I knew I had to try modifying it to be allergy-safe. The results were fantastic. I think this is a great dish even for people without food allergies or sensitivities. It is even better as leftovers the next day.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite sized pieces if desired)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper (I used white pepper because I didn't feel like grinding that much black pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom (if you don't have cardamom, you could try subbing a pinch of cinnamon or allspice)
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen spinach (Optional--the original recipe does not call for this but I thought it was a nice addition.)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (Melt before measuring--I used slightly more than this because I wanted to finish off a jar. Note that the coconut oil is in place of the original recipe's butter, you could switch to butter if you prefer and its safe for you.)
  • 1 6 oz. jar of tomato paste
  • 6 oz. water (I use the empty tomato paste can to measure)
  • 2-3 diced fresh tomatoes (could use canned diced tomatoes in a pinch)
  • 1/2 can light coconut milk (This is a substitute for the original recipe's whipping cream.)
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups basmati rice
Combine the first nine ingredients and marinate the chicken (overnight if desired, I did not do this because I wanted to eat it the same evening). Sauté the onion in the coconut oil until soft. Add the chicken and cook about 10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, prep the tomatoes and wash the cilantro. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and frozen spinach. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat with the lid on. Add the coconut milk and cilantro. Serve over rice. Enjoy!


  1. I made this tonight for my book club with some alterations. I used chicken thighs (2 packages, about 16 thighs??), chopped into bite sized chunks. I quadrupled the spices and doubled the limes and marinated the chicken overnight. I only used 2 onions and sauteed in under 1/2 c. of peanut oil as I couldn't find coconut oil. I did not add spinach. Then I added the onions, marinated chicken, 2 full cans of coconut milk, a large can of diced tomatoes (including juice, no additional water), and 2 cans of tomato paste, all into a crock pot on low for about 7 hours. It was delicious! The sauce was thin, but worked nicely with the rice and naan (which I purchased) I served it with

    Thanks for a great alternative to dairy-filled butter chicken!!!

  2. Mmm this looks really good! I'm going to make it this weekend. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. looking good, will have this tonight :) thank you for these nice-looking dairy-free alterations. best, sb

  4. Oh wow, this is looking so yummy and so good. I'm going to try this for the weekend dinner. Thanks for sharing.

    Indian recipes