This Indian specialty dish is so delicious and simple to make. It’s perfectly spiced and creamy, you’d never know that this recipe is dairy-free. It's based on my original recipe that you will find in The JOYful Table cookbook. In this version, I've used smoked paprika, a little cinnamon and maple syrup to enhance the flavour and I've shortened the prep time. My Paleo Butter Chicken tastes just like the real thing. All my grandkids adore this recipe. Serve with Paleo Naan Bread (you can find the Naan recipe in my cookbooks).
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Add the coconut cream, lime juice, garam masala, smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne to a large bowl and whisk together. Pat the chicken dry and then stir the chopped chicken through the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 - 60 minutes.
Heat a large heavy-based saucepan on medium heat, add the ghee or coconut oil and cook the onion for 3 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 60 seconds.
Increase the heat and pour in the chicken and marinade, stirring often until the chicken has changed colour. Add in the passata, pumpkin, maple syrup and salt. Once the mixture has come back to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook covered for 20 minutes stirring from time to time, then cook uncovered for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until the chicken and pumpkin are tender.
Serve with cauliflower rice, paleo Naan bread and a dollop of natural coconut yoghurt or a swirl of coconut cream on top. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Choose grass-fed, free-range chicken breast and organic if available. Chicken is a meat that gets injected with hormones to plumb it up, shop carefully. A good source of protein.
I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.
A lime is a green citrus fruit. There are several species of the lime tree. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and calcium and are used to add flavour to foods and beverages.
Paprika is a relative of the chili pepper. Smoked paprika is used to add a sweet mildly spicy flavour to dishes and it adds a warm natural colour. Use organic smoked paprika, my favourite brands are Simply Organic or Frontier (I purchase online at iherb).
Garam masala is an Indian blend of ground spices. Typical ingredients for garam masala are, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, black peppercorns, coriander, nutmeg, however different brands can use other spices too. Different brands can have stronger flavours than others, I purchase 'Simply Organic' brand, which doesn't contain any fillers like cornflour or maize.
Coriander is also know as cilantro. The fresh chopped green leaves in large amounts are a good source of vitamin C. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and Mexican dishes. They are usually tossed through just before serving as the heat can diminish the flavour. The dried fruits are known as coriander seeds, the seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed. The word coriander in food preparation may only be referring to the ground seeds not the plant.
Cumin is a medium - hot spice which blends well in curries and is the main spice in the Middle Eastern dip, hummus. It is being studied for potential anti-oxidant and anticancer effects.
Turmeric is a perennial plant of the ginger family, the rhizomes are used fresh or boiled then dried in hot ovens after which they are ground into a deep yellow powder. Turmeric is an essential ingredient of Indian curries and gives mustard its yellow colour. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic and is used to treat inflammation and digestive disorders.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Cayenne pepper is a powdered form of red hot chili pepper, cultivated from the capsicum family (a nightshade vegetable). Cayenne pepper is high in vitamin A, it also contains vitamins B6, E and C, riboflavin, potassium and manganese. Cayenne can speed up the metabolism due to the high amounts of capsaicin.
Ghee is a lactose-free ancient superfood. It is made by slow cooking and clarifying butter to remove the milk solids and lactose, it's pure butter fat. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brands are Organic Valley Purity Farms or Puresoul grass-fed. It is also very easy to make yourself. Ghee has a high smoke point 485F/250C.
In my recipes when listing onion I am referring to a brown (also called yellow) onion. Onions are members of the allium plant family which also includes garlic, leeks, spring onions and shallots. Onions are valued more for the flavour they impart in cooking than for their nutritional content. Onions are know for their antibacterial effect helping to prevent superficial infections and their sulfur compounds may block carcinogens.
Garlic is a close relative to the onion and has been used throughout history for both medicinal and culinary purposes. In most of my recipes I use minced garlic as I find it distributes better throughout the dish. When in a hurry I use organic minced garlic which I purchase in glass jars and store in the fridge. When garlic powder is needed for a particular recipe, I use 'Simply Organic' brand. Why is garlic so good for us? It is an immune booster, antibiotic, good for the heart, cancer fighter and it's also knew as a weight loss aid (appetite suppressant).
Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.
Purchase organic tomato passata/puree in glass containers (pure tomato without sugar or salt). Tomatoes are acidic which increases the rate at which BPA enters food and this can be a concern with canned tomato products. Tomatoes are a useful source of vitamin C, beta carotene, folate and potassium. Tomatoes are a nightshade vegetable.
Like all orange pigmented vegetables, pumpkins are rich in beta carotene (vitamin A) and studies show pumpkin contains more than carrots.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
You will be able to find a recipe for cultured coconut yoghurt online using grass fed gelatin or tapioca starch for thickening. If purchasing a commercial yoghurt, read labels as many use vegetable gums and additives. Coconut yoghurt can be made in a yoghurt maker or a Thermomix machine. If you can tolerate some dairy natural organic Greek yoghurt can be used in it's place.