Eating healthy is easier if you cook at home! But it can still have its challenges. What do you do when you want great, in your face, flavor without excess salt or heavy fats? Sometimes the answer is to load up with spices. Today’s recipe, for No Butter Chicken, leaves no doubt that spices can deliver an amazingly flavorful–and low calorie– dish.
I had the good fortune to see No Butter Chicken prepared by its creator, Food Network’s Bal Arneson, who was giving at a demonstration at my mother’s retirement community. To prove how easy preparation really is, Bal got two of the residents up to do the cooking, with a little coaching on the side. Afterwards we were all served samples prepared by the cooking staff, demonstrating that this is a dish with broad appeal–despite (because of?) a little “heat” from the Indian seasonings.
As an added bonus, many of the seasonings in here are believed to have health benefits. Per the American Chiropractor, spices such as garlic, ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits that may help with cancer prevention and diseases like arthritis!
Interestingly, my husband won’t touch a dish he perceives as hot–no salsa above “mild” for him. But he loves this and would have eaten the full recipe by himself if I let him. On the other hand my daughter found it spicier than she prefers, ate a modest amount, then passed her leftovers on to her dad. We’ll just have to keep working on her, because this dish is going to be a regular at our house!
- • 2 tablespoons oil
- • 1 small onion, chopped
- • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
- • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- • 1 tablespoon garam masala (see substitution below)
- • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
- • 1 teaspoon turmeric
- • 1 teaspoon salt
- • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized cubes (about 2 breasts)
- • 1/4 cup nonfat yogurt
- • 1/2 cup water
- Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it starts to get hot, add the onion and ginger and cook for 4 minutes, or until caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for another minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, brown sugar, cumin, garam masala (see substitution below), red chile flakes, turmeric, and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken cubes and stir well to coat. Add the yogurt and water and cook, stirring until the chicken is done, about 8 minutes. Serve with rice.
- To make a substitute for the garam masala I used 1 t coriander, 1 t ground pepper, ½ t cardamom, ½ t cinnamon, pinch cloves