Indian Butter Chicken

  • Date August 18, 2013
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My latest food blogging fun involves trying to copycat a normally higher calorie dish and turn it into a Pinks Pantry approved meal. My first copycat recipe challenge was Indian Butter Chicken. I could devour this dish and it is a go to order if we ever order in Indian Food. Usually a good portion size of this meal is around 1,000 calories! Yikes. Swiss Chalet is 970 calories, Joey Tomatoes is 880 calories. Not an option for me. Challenge accepted!

Result? I am very pleased! This is a healthier version, with the calories cut in half and the portion size is HUGE. For 400 calories, I urge you try this copycat recipe. I realize you can't call it butter chicken if I didn't use chicken, but I only used tofu as it is what I wanted the night I made the recipe. I would make again with chicken and I am even tempted to try lamb......


Cauliflower Rice:

Per serving (based on 4 cups cauliflower rice), 100 calories

For the rice, make as much cauliflower rice as you want, I used 4 cups for my meal and it was a giant bowl of food. Calories per cup of cauliflower is 25. If you don't have a healthy appetite like I do, you could use two cups cauliflower rice per serving and it would still be a very large serving. 


The recipe makes sauce for three very LARGE portions. I made the sauce with tofu, you could use chicken or lamb or whatever meat your heart desires. The calories per serving are 250.

  • 1 package of medium firm tofu (I used the sunrise brand)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 can coconut milk (the can I use is 160 calories per can)
  • 1 can pureed tomatoes (this is not tomato sauce nor tomato paste!)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 tbls curry powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Pappadum
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce
  • Fresh mango or chutney 


  • Use pam or oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the onions. Saute until the pieces are brown and almost caramelized (10-15 minutes)
  • While onions are cooking, mix all of the spices together and then stir into the onion mixture, cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add tomatoes, stir well and bring to a boil. Then simmer for around 20 minutes until the sauce is pretty thick. While this is cooking, prepare your "meat" - tofu, chicken, lamb. In this version, I simply cut up the tofu. If you are using chicken, then precook in a different frying pan 
  • Add coconut milk and stir well. Let simmer while you prepare your "cauliflower rice" 
  • For cauliflower rice, I grated the rice and cooked in the microwave for 4 minutes. You could also cook the cauliflower rice in a little bit of the extra coconut milk 

Directions with Pictures

In case you are wondering what a pappadum is, here is the box of pre-made ones I use. I cook in the microwave for 30 seconds and you get a great crispy garlic bread like cracker to eat your curry with. Also, here is a picture of the low calorie coconut milk I found. And finally, the closest version to pureed tomatoes I could find. 

Grated cauliflower ready for the microwave.

Onions cooking in the frypan.

Onions have been mixed with the spices and then the tomato sauce is added.

Very thick! And smelling really good. Let this simmer.

Chopped up my tofu. Started with 1/2 a package and moved up to a whole package as the sauce made more than I expected and I wanted enough tofu for the sauce.

Add in the coconut milk into the sauce. Now we are talking. Smells even better.

Add in the tofu (or chicken or lamb or whatever meat you choose)

Getting excited at this point, smelling and looking very very good!

Place your cooked cauliflower into your bowl or serving dish (this is one serving).

Put the sauce on top and serve with a pappadum.

Close up of the sauce with tofu.....delicious!

Try to get a good picture while your husband sits at the dining room table patiently waiting for you to hurry the $*%( up.

Here is what it looks like once you start eating, the sauce mixes really well with the cauliflower! Delicious.

Husband Friendly Version:

Wasn't many options for him on this one, but he did add sour cream and hot sauce. He said he would like chicken better (obviously) and also asked that I work on healthier version of a lamb vindaloo. Challenge accepted.


Lydia Filgueras said...

I like your lower the calories and eat more food approach. Cauliflower rice rulez! Thanks for linking up to the Tofu linky. The recipes you've shared will provide some inspiration :)

Erinn Pinky said...

Thanks Lydia. I love that "eat more food approach". It pretty much sums me up completely. I also wish I had discovered cauliflower rice years ago!