Butter Chicken Makeover (Indian Chicken in Tomato Cream Sauce)

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Serves: 4

This is a lower-fat, lower-calorie version of the ever-popular North Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) in tomato cream sauce. The butter is reduced and milk and plain yogurt are used instead of cream. It is still delicious and not difficult to prepare! The brown basmati rice boosts the fibre.


1 cup (250 mL) brown basmati rice, dry
2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil
1 cup (250 mL) onion(s), diced
1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) turmeric, ground
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) ginger, fresh, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) garam masala
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cayenne pepper, ground
1 tsp (5 mL) black pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) cumin, ground
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) homogenized milk, 3.3% MF
1/4 cup (60 mL) plain yogurt, 2–4% MF
1 cup (250 mL) tomato purée
1 lb (0.5 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast(s), cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice, fresh
2 tsp (10 mL) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) cilantro sprigs, fresh (optional garnish)


1 Cook brown rice in unsalted water according to package directions.
2 Heat oil over medium high heat in a heavy bottom pot. Add diced onion and sauté on medium low heat until softened and lightly golden - about 5 minutes.
3 Sprinkle with ground turmeric and sauté for another minute.
4 Add butter, minced garlic and ginger, garam masala, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ground cumin and salt and stir. Sauté for another five minutes stirring often – watch that the spices don't burn.
5 Stir in whole milk, plain yogurt and tomato purée. Adjust the heat to medium low.
6 Cut boneless chicken breast into one inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Add to pot, stir and simmer uncovered for 30 - 45 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
7 Stir in the freshly squeezed lemon juice and brown sugar.
8 Serve over hot brown rice. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro.