I’ve been working on this recipe for a while now and I’m very excited to finally share it with you. A year ago I committed to initiating a few changes in my life and I have purposefully gone out to make it a whole lot healthier. I don’t call it a diet, although I work with a clinical dietician who has given me a plan within which I can make better decisions. I get to make all my own choices within this framework, which is imperative for me given that I love food so much and it’s the cornerstone of my career. If I stick to the plan 100% I lose more weight, if I don’t I lose less. Often I maintain my weight, which for me is also winning. I have taken the long view and settled into doing it over years rather than months. It is proving to be successful and sustainable which is the most important thing for me. I’m interested in making habit changes that will stay with me for the rest of my life. There is no quick fix for this, trust me. I’m not going on diet and then I’ll be off my diet. I’m going to be eating this way for the rest of my life. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I’m feeling so much stronger and more vibrant than I did a year ago. I have also exercised rigorously and regularly for the whole year and I’m feeling happy in my skin again.
This butter chicken recipe is one I eat on a regular rotation in my house and it’s a favourite of mine. It fits perfectly into my plan AND it delivers a dish packed with so much flavour. I never want to compromise on that. It contains lean protein, is low in fat and I’ve packed as many vegetables into it as I possibly could. The cauliflower and carrots are roasted, adding so much crunch and texture and help make it economical as well as super delicious. This is my veggie loaded healthier butter chicken curry.
A quick disclaimer, I absolutely adore a traditional butter chicken and it’s amongst my all-time favourite Indian curries. I love it loaded with coconut cream, making it so unctuous you can see a film of grease on the edges of the sauce. I love to plunge thick shards of buttery naan or roti into it, or pile it on a mound of steaming rice. It is a dish that is laced with calories, so with my recipe, I wanted to try and capture the flavours of the dish but reduce the fat content dramatically. I used yoghurt instead of coconut cream or cream and there is literally 3 tablespoons of olive oil to kick things off. I use full-fat yoghurt because there is virtually no difference between full-fat dairy and low fat anyway. I find this creamy enough but by all means, use double fat Greek yoghurt if you prefer. Or if you are not worried about calorie consumption, use coconut cream.
When I’m being super strict I will eat this with cauliflower rice, which I really love, but eat it with whatever you prefer. This curry freezes well and I always stash a few tubs in my freezer for those days when I simply cannot face cooking another meal for one.
Please let me know if you make this dish and tag me on social media @Drizzleanddip. Nothing makes me happier when you do.
PS: I’ve kept this curry quite mild as I am somewhat of a wimp when it comes to spice. I love all the flavour but I can’t deal with too much heat. If you like your curry fiery hot, I suggest adding chilli – fresh or dry to the sauce at the stage where you add the other spices and aromatics.
Ok, here is how you make my healthier, lower in fat, butter chicken curry
Recipe – Makes 5 generous servings
- 1 small head of cauliflower or half a medium head, florets removed & cut into bite size
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- Olive oil, just a few light splashes
- 1 onion or 2 shallots finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp finely grated ginger
- 2 Tbs butter chicken curry spice blend (I used Cape Herb & Spices)
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 tins of chopped peeled tomatoes
- a large handful of green beans (about 150gms), stalks cut off and cut into bite size pieces
- 4 skinless, boneless free-range chicken breasts (about 600gms), cut into bite-size pieces
- ½ cup full-fat yoghurt (or fat-free or Greek) plus extra to serve
- 200gms baby spinach leaves
- A squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
- a handful of roughly chopped coriander/cilantro
Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F and spread the cauliflower florets and sliced carrot onto a baking sheet. Lightly coat with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until cooked through and starting to brown around the edges.
In a large skillet with high sides or Dutch oven, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the onion until its softens and starts to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger and spices and fry for about a minute.
Add the 2 tins of tomatoes and season generously with salt. Cook this sauce for about 20 minutes until it starts to thicken.
Add the beans and chicken and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes and until it is cooked. I normally put a lid on for about half of this cooking time which keeps the moisture in the sauce.
By this stage, the cauliflower and carrots will have come out of the oven, so add this to the curry and stir through. Let this cook for a few minutes.
Add the yoghurt and stir through. Add a little extra if you want it creamier.
Add the spinach and start folding it into the curry. It needs a little help to get it to all fit and wilt into the sauce and putting the lid on help with this.
Finally, add a squeeze of lemon juice (this is entirely optional and not imperative) and a small handful of roughly chopped coriander. Serve with whatever accompaniment you want with another dollop of yoghurt and a sprig or two of coriander (if you like it as much as I do).
A few of my other healthier recipes that help make losing weight easier and delicious
Lettuce and chicken wraps with green goddess caesars dressing (use low-fat mayo or yoghurt)
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