15-Minute Butter Chicken Meal Prep
The first time I had butter chicken I was in Washington, DC at my friend’s parents’ house. I was thrown off a bit by the name because I imagined chicken covered in butter which doesn’t sound too bad.
But I soon learned that it was better than I could have ever imagined. And it introduced me to a new ingredient, ghee, which is most likely where the “butter” name comes from. This “Indian butter” is clarified butter that originated on the Indian sub-continent with a high smoke point. This makes it very suitable for frying and other cooking applications that would usually burn non-clarified butter.
I found that cooking traditional Indian butter chicken at home doesn’t have to be hard, as long as you have the right spice mix. While you can purchase ginger garlic paste, making your own from fresh ginger and garlic will bring out the flavor. While my recipe uses coconut cream, you can also use Greek yogurt or heavy cream to give it that full, creamy texture. If you don’t have crushed tomatoes, you can use a can of tomato paste as a close substitute.
While this homemade butter chicken recipe is cooked fast over the stove, it also works well in the slow cooker or instant pot. My original recipe calls for chicken breast, but skinless chicken thighs work well too. The chicken pieces will be tender and juicy, swimming in a tasty curry sauce, perfect over rice and naan. Along with chicken tikka masala, this is one of my favorite exotic recipes to make for weeknight dinners. Since it also freezes well, making and packing individual portions means meal prep has never been so easy.
The traditional recipe is pretty calorie dense, and is anything but a healthy chicken recipe, so while it may be worth every bite, it won’t (necessarily) push you closer to your wellness goals. While it is often paired with basmati rice or naan bread, you can forego them if you’re cutting out carbs and want to keep your calorie count lower. Mix some plain yogurt with lime or lemon juice, cucumber, and cilantro, and you’ll have a delicious side for this healthy version of Indian comfort food. Here’s my calorie-conscious version that takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. If you tried this butter chicken recipe, please leave a comment below. We love to hear what our readers have to say about our recipes!
- 1 lb chicken breasts (chunks)
- spray olive oil (or coconut oil)
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1/3 cup red onion, diced or chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger (fresh or powder)
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic (minced or powder)
- 14 oz crushed tomatoes
- 2/3 cup coconut cream
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 5 tablespoons coriander
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or garam masala)
- chopped cilantro
Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray with olive oil or coconut oil.
Add the chicken and cook it in the skillet for about 5 minutes, until the outside is no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
Using the same skillet, add ghee and let it melt. Then, toss in onion, ginger and garlic. Let it cook for about 2 minutes and be careful not to let the garlic burn.
Add the seasonings and “bloom” them or gently sauté them in order to boost the flavors. After about 1 minute (or until the spies are fragrant), add the chicken chunks, coconut cream and freshly squeezed lemon.
Stir and cook for about 2 minutes then add the tomato. Cover and simmer on low for about 6 to 8 minutes.
Season to taste with sea salt & pepper and garnish with cilantro.
Approximate macros for 1 of 4 servings
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey, I'm Kevin
My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.
By experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I learned healthy eating is not boring! By making a few adjustments to my favorite foods, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my wellness goals while satisfying my desire for BANGIN food! 😅 Now I try to help people around the world realize that same level of freedom in eating regardless of budget. Welcome, let's #DemocratizeWellness together!