No Butter Chicken

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. 

No Butter Chicken

No Butter Chicken

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.   

Preparing No Butter Chicken is easy!

Preparing No Butter Chicken is easy!

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!  no-butter-chicken-from-abov

No Butter Chicken
Serves 4
No Butter Chicken, leaves no doubt that spices can deliver an amazingly flavorful--and low calorie-- dish.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
301 calories
12 g
97 g
11 g
37 g
2 g
212 g
697 g
8 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 301
Calories from Fat 100
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 97mg
Sodium 697mg
Total Carbohydrates 12g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 8g
Protein 37g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. • 2 tablespoons oil
  2. • 1 small onion, chopped
  3. • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
  4. • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  5. • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  6. • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  7. • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  8. • 1 tablespoon garam masala (see substitution below)
  9. • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  10. • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  11. • 1 teaspoon salt
  12. • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized cubes (about 2 breasts)
  13. • 1/4 cup nonfat yogurt
  14. • 1/2 cup water
  1. 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.
  2. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar, cumin, garam masala (see substitution below), red chile flakes, turmeric, and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. 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.
  1. 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
Art of Natural Living

6 thoughts on “No Butter Chicken

  1. Juliana

    This chicken looks delicious Inger…I love all the spices that you have in it…so much flavor that butter is not missed…

    1. Inger Post author

      It’s got some real kick! I was so glad I got to try it at the demo–it isn’t my usual but we loved it!

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