When Ev’s little brother was staying with us over his summer school holidays (our winter), both he and Ev became a tad obsessed with butter chicken. They even had a song for it. I can understand why, it is delicious but unfortunately it does take a little planning to get this meal made as the chicken has to marinate overnight and the sauce is better if made ahead of time, as well.
Back in my pre-FM days, a jar of Pataks would have satisfied my butter chicken, or any Indian food cravings but the simmer sauces you buy at the supermarket – as always – are chock full of onion and thus unsuitable for most with FM. As if that wasn’t enough reason to make your own sauce, the pre-made sauces are really quite bland compared to a homemade sauce; not so here, I can only describe this dish as “vibrant.”
The original recipe is from a great YouTube channel called Eat East Indian. I highly recommend it if you are comfortable tinkering with recipes to FODMAP-ify them, as they have some delicious creations. I have made their recipe FODMAP friendly for all of you to try, with some other alterations as well – but of course I credit them with the amazing original recipe.
Just a note – I made a double batch below, so that’s why the amounts look so much bigger.
- Garam masala can contain onion or garlic powder – it’s only a fraction of the 1/2 tsp. called for in this recipe so it might be tolerated by some. Use your own judgement and omit it if necessary.
- An onion is called for in the original recipe. I have replaced this with a pinch of asafoetida powder and 1/2 a cup of green chives but you could go back to the original version if you can tolerate onion.
- I included carrot and celery in this recipe for some added nutrition. Evgeny, if you’re reading this, don’t complain because you had no clue. :P
- Make sure your asafoetida powder is cut with rice flour and not wheat (to prevent clumping) if you’re very sensitive to fructans or a coeliac.
- Butter isn’t high in lactose, as lactose is water soluble and most of it goes into buttermilk instead of the butter – however you could replace some or all of it with coconut butter.
- The cream and plain yoghurt can be replaced with lactose free versions if required.
- 500 g chicken, diced into 2 cm cubes
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander seed
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. ground fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 cup plain yoghurt – optional
Combine the spices with the plain yoghurt (lactose free or normal) and then mix through the chicken pieces. Place everything in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 1 hour – overnight is best. If you want the spice flavours to come through more strongly at the end, or if you cannot get LF yoghurt, omit the yoghurt.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 pinch asafoetida powder
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic – to infuse butter
- 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
- 250 g /8.8 oz diced tomatoes – fresh or tinned
Prepare all your ingredients for part 2 beforehand; this makes the actual cooking process as simple as possible.
Gently melt the butter over a low heat and add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida powder; simmer until fragrant, then add the diced carrots, celery, garlic and ginger and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. The carrots need to soften before they are blended. If you chose to include a diced onion, add it in with the carrots etc.
Next, add in the tomatoes and cook for a further 3 minutes. Pick out the garlic cloves and spoon the contents of your pot into a blender (or use your immersion blender and then set the paste aside in a bowl – but there’s no way I’m doing that in my Le Creuset!) and puree the vegetables. The paste will be used as the sauce later on. This step can be done on the same day as part 3 but the flavours can really mingle if you make it ahead of time, such as the night before when you start your chicken marinating.
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. brown sugar or dextrose
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 cup diced green chives
- 1/3 cup double cream – LF variety or normal
- 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala – if tolerated
- Coriander leaves (cilantro) to garnish
Seal your pot and fry the bay leaves and ground cloves until fragrant. Take your chicken pieces that have been marinating – the longer, the better – and add them in; sear until fully sealed. Remove the bay leaves and pour in the paste. Mix well, then add in the salt, turmeric, paprika, brown sugar, cinnamon and chives and simmer for 30 minutes.
Pour in the double cream and cook over a medium heat for 5 more minutes before adding in the fenugreek seeds, black pepper and garam masala; simmer for 10 minutes and it’s finished. Some recipes might call for a drop or two of red food colouring but really, I think it’s bright enough as it is and why add in something that is completely unnecessary if it’s only going to make it a little brighter?
If you are not serving it straight away, keep it on a low heat until it’s required.
Serve with white rice and a garnish of coriander leaves (cilantro). You can serve the sauce and rice in separate dishes or create individual bowls – separately is more traditional but you can do whatever you’d like.
It makes a delicious lunch if you store it in individual dishes that you can either refrigerate or freeze and take to work/school/wherever for the week.