Recipe: Butterless Butter Chicken


An Indian Takeaway favourite in the UK is butter chicken. What if we told you this version is made (wait for it) without butter?! By using nuts as a base this recipe gives you a super creamy sauce which you can then pair with gorgeous marinated chicken breasts. Serve with a side of baked, not fried, onion bhajis for a classic dish that's a little bit better for your insides.


Chicken Pieces

  • 2 cm piece of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 25 ml water
  • 2 chicken breasts


  • 2 tbsp mustard oil (or veg)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cm piece of ginger
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 100 g cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 500 ml chicken stock


  • 2 red onions
  • 100 g gram flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Mint Sauce

  • 20 g fresh mint
  • 20 g fresh coriander
  • 1 small green chilli
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1 pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 50 ml water
Marinate the Chicken

Step 1

Marinate The Chicken

Peel the ginger & garlic and place into a spice grinder with the lemon juice, salt, fenugreek seeds, garam masala and smoked paprika. Blend to a paste, adding the water if required. Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and rub the paste into the chicken in a bowl. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours, ideally overnight.

Start the Sauce

Step 2

Start The Sauce

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon to start to fry. Peel and finely chop the ginger and garlic, then add to the pan to fry for a minute. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan with the sugar, cashews and stock. Heat to a boil and cook rapidly for 30 minutes so the volume of liquid reduces and the nuts soften.

Baked Bhajis

Step 3

Baked Bhajis

Preheat a grill to high and an oven to 240℃. Peel the red onions and grate in the food processor with a slicing disc. Mix the gram flour, ground cumin, turmeric chopped coriander and lemon juice in a big bowl with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in enough water until you have a gloopy batter. Stir through the sliced onions, then place tablespoon blobs into greased muffin tins. Spray with veg oil and bake for 10-12 minutes until crispy on the edges.

Grill the Chicken

Step 4

Grill The Chicken

Place the chicken pieces on a tin-foil lined grill tray and cook under the hot grill for 10 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through to the middle, but charred on the edges.

Mint Sauce

Step 5

Mint Sauce

Place all the ingredients for the mint sauce into the small food processor and blitz until smooth. Season to taste with salt and sugar.

Blend the Sauce and Serve

Step 6

Blend The Sauce And Serve

Scoop the whole spices from the sauce and blitz in the blender until you have a really smooth and creamy sauce. Transfer back to a clean saucepan and keep warm, before stirring half of the charred chicken into it. Serve with boiled rice if you want to keep the dish gluten-free or flat breads. Serves 4.

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