I believe I’ve created a butter chicken recipe that rivals any good butter chicken you’ll find around this town without a tandoor and without using ghee or butter! This dairy-free, nut-free and paleo friendly curry will have you coming back for more and licking your plate!

I can't believe it's not Butter Chicken!

I can’t believe it’s not Butter Chicken!


  • 6 tbps of Pukara Estate lemon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1kg free range/organic chicken thighs, diced
  • 2 brown onions
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsps paprika
  • 2 tsps ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (alternatively 1 heaped teaspoon powdered ginger)
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, or (1/4 tsp chilli powder, or 1/4 tsp hot paprika) or (leave some chillies whole to extract flavour without the heat and serve to those who like it hot!)
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 6 bruised cardamom pods (bash gently with pestle)
  • 4 tbsps Pukara Estate vanilla and cinnamon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato passata
  • 1  270 ml can coconut cream
  • 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • Pukara Estate chilli smoked salt flakes to taste
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

Serves 6-8


  1. Preheat a large pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, over medium to high heat. Add half the chicken and brown until golden. Remove from pan and repeat with the remaining half of the chicken.
  2. Remove second batch of chicken from pan and heat the final two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until just soft. Add all the spices and garlic and stir for about two minutes, until very fragrant.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan, along with the vinegar and passata. Bring to the boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  4.  Add the coconut cream and lemon juice and simmer for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove cinnamon stick, check for seasoning and add Pukara Estate chilli smoked salt flakes to taste.
  6. Serve with some steamed or stir-fried vegetables (prepare these during the final 15 minutes of simmering the chicken), and some rice.
  7. To garnish, top with some fresh coriander leaves.

Handy Tip: if you are browning the onions and the chicken and you find the pan juices are sticking to the base of the pan and begin to burn, you can use the vinegar to de-glaze your pan whilst adding extra flavour at the same time!



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I am a professional food presenter and cook who loves inspiring a little gourmet at home. I hope my blog posts and recipes inspire you to get creating in your kitchen.
  • Yusuf

    I really eyjoned this ice cream. I made it with the following changes, some based on preferences I’ve developed over the course of making ice cream in the past:(1) Used 2 cups half-and-half in place of the heavy cream + milk. I like this better as a base due to the greasy mouthfeel heavy cream sometimes imparts.(2) Used ~1.5 cups cherries, pitted + quartered(3) Cooked the cherries with all of the sugar, instead of saving some sugar for the dairy. The instructions were unclear — mentioning sugar in step 1 and 2 — so I made a judgment call.(4) Added the seeds from one vanilla pod to the dairy as it was heating instead of using extract.I almost didn’t add the chocolate but I’m glad I did — I think the flavors really go well together.I think I might add a bit less chocolate next time and even more cherries.Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe! YUM.