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Mock Butter Chicken

(NC)—Developed for the Almond Board of California by Trish Magwood, author of James Beard award winning cookbook 'dish entertains', and TV host of 'party dish'

This is a mock version of a traditional butter chicken because it has all the flavour without all the ingredients and time. The key is to simmer it low and slow giving it time to incorporate the flavours. Serve this over Indian basmati rice in footed rice bowls. For a stand up party, serve it up in little take out bamboo boats with wood fry forks as a substantial appetizer. Pack up leftovers the next day and your office mates will be envious of your fab lunch on the go.

Serves 4


3 tablespoons (45 mL) unsalted butter

2 teaspoons (10 mL) cumin seeds, whole

1 medium vidalia onion, small dice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon (5 mL) minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) cayenne or to taste

1 teaspoon (2 mL) ground coriander

2 teaspoons (2 mL) garam masala

2 lbs (908 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2' chunks

1/4 cup (50 mL) ground almonds

1 ½ cups (375 mL) fresh tomato puree

½ cup (125 mL) 35% cream

½ cup (125 mL) plain yogurt, Balkan style


In a large heavy sauté pan, warm butter over medium heat. Fry cumin seeds about 1 minute. Sauté onions about 3 minutes, stirring. Add spices stirring frequently about 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add chicken pieces and toss to coat with onion and spices and fry about 5 minutes until chicken is coated in spices. Stir in ground almonds.

Add tomatoes and cream stirring and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook uncovered about 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Cover and continue to simmer another 10–15 minutes. Turn heat off, stir in yogurt.

Serve over basmati rice, with warmed naan bread (store bought wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven will do the trick) and raitta (store bought or make your own with yogurt, garlic, cucumber and lemon) for dipping.

Kitchen notes: This is a mild heat perfect for adults and kids who like a bit of spice but if you are feeding the family who only likes very mild, reduce the cayenne a bit. If you want to add heat, increase cayenne or add a red chili, split lengthwise cooked at the start and removed at the end. I have made this dish substituting ground cumin for whole cumin seeds and it was delicious.

Nutritional analysis per serving:

calories: 318 kcals Fibre: 4 g

Total Fat: 24 g Cholesterol: 80 mg

Saturated Fat: 13 g Sodium: 427 mg

Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g Calcium: 91 mg

Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g Magnesium: 60 mg

Protein: 10 g Potassium: 680 mg

Carbohydrates: 20 g Vitamin E: 4 mg

Article courtesy of:

Toronto, ON, Canada
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Mar 2011  Mock Butter Chicken 
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