A Better Butter Chicken

As we get set to welcome a blast of cold Canadian winter, I find myself longing for something warm and comforting from the stove. 

Indian-inspired dishes are something I get a craving for every now and again. It's a great way to spice up the ordinary chicken, fish or veggie meal. Too often though, recipes and restaurant options are heavy-laden with butter and cream…ingredients that don't sit well with my tummy or health and fitness goals.

So I got playing around in the kitchen and ended up putting together this AH-MAZING version that gets its inspiration from Trish Magwood's Mock Butter Chicken. Thumbs up all around for this one - adults and kids alike! Feel free to play with the spices if your household prefers something on the milder or hotter side.


  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cayenne, more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds (omit in the case of nut allergies)
  • 2 lb (or 4 breasts) boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 of a head of cauliflower, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas


  • Melt coconut oil in a large heavy pan, over medium heat. Add ground cumin and fry for a few seconds or until fragrant. Add onion and fry until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, cayenne, coriander and ground almonds. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add chicken pieces and toss to coat with onion and spices. Fry, stirring frequently until chicken is almost cooked through.
  • Add tomatoes and coconut milk; bring to a boil, stirring often.
  • Reduce heat to low and add cauliflower pieces, red pepper, chickpeas and green peas. Stir to combine. 
  • Simmer on low heat for an hour (if you have the time for flavours to meld), or until cauliflower is tender.
  • Serve over brown basmati rice with a side green salad or steamed broccolini for a complete meal.

Serves 4 with leftovers for a whole additional meal (freezable) or 6 without leftovers. To make vegetarian, substitute tofu for the chicken or use a whole can of chickpeas.