Chicken tikka masala and butter chicken are probably two of the most popular Anglo-Indian curries, and this dish is my adaptation and tribute to both of them. Made paleo style, of course. It’s rich and creamy, yet dairy-free and gluten-free, so it’s like a healthier version of the classic. It’s full of nourishing ingredients, such as turmeric, coconut milk, spinach, cranberries and coriander.
This is a great make ahead dish and can be served with cauliflower or other veggies. The heat level is mild, but feel free to omit or reduce the amount of diced chilli used, to make it milder. If using a slow cooker, do the first few steps and once you’ve added the liquids, set the timer as needed. Add the spinach and cranberries at the end.
- I used chicken breast meat in this recipe, but you can easily use chicken thighs, turkey, prawns or fish. For a completely vegetarian version, I would use a mix of pumpkin or sweet potato, carrots and mushrooms.
- I used canned full-fat coconut milk with 50% coconut extract. Make sure to shake the coconut milk before adding to the curry, or scoop out the thicker part for a thicker, richer sauce.
- Spinach can be replaced with chard, kale, broccoli or any other greens you have on hand. Cranberries add a lovely sour-sweet touch but can be omitted or replaced with some dried sultanas or diced apricots.
- Garam masala is an Indian spice blend and can be purchased in most supermarkets. It’s fantastic in curries and stews and is great to have in the pantry.
- I used a teaspoon of honey for extra sweetness, but this can be omitted if you’re avoiding all sweeteners at the moment.
- Arrowroot powder or flour is used to thicken the sauce. It can be omitted, or tapioca flour could also be used for this.
- To prepare cauliflower rice, I finely diced half a head of cauliflower (you can use a food processor for this) and then pan-fried it in a little coconut oil for a minute or two – literally to heat through. White rice is also fine if you’re including it.
Feel free to reduce the amount of chilli used for less heat. I’ve provided step-by-step photos for this recipe below. Please refer to cook’s notes above for more info.
- 1 heaped tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 1 red chilli (long one), deseeded and finely diced
- 4 medium chicken breasts, diced (about 550 g / 1.2 lb total)
- 2 teaspoons, grated ginger (see pic for the size of ginger)
- 3–4 medium cloves of garlic, grated
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (add a little more salt, if not using)
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (apple cider vinegar can also be used)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup diced tinned tomatoes
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (see Cook’s Notes)
- 4 large handfuls of baby spinach (or chopped English spinach)
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder (see Cook’s Notes)
- Fresh coriander for garnish
- Cauliflower for making ‘cauli rice’
- Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and chilli and cook for 2 minutes, stirring a few times.
- Add the chicken and stir for a minute. Then add the ginger and garlic and stir through again.
- Add the spices and salt, and stir for 20-30 seconds to release the aromas.
- Add the fish sauce, lemon juice, honey, chopped tomatoes, water and coconut milk and stir through.
- Bring to boil, then turn down to medium and cook for 15 minutes, covered with a lid.
- After 15 minutes, add the cranberries and cook uncovered for a further 2-3 minutes. Finally, add the spinach and stir through for 20-30 seconds, until it’s wilted.
- Scoop some of the sauce to a small bowl and add the arrowroot powder/flour. Stir until dissolved and add back to the curry. Remove from heat and stir through – this will thicken the sauce slightly.