I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken Recipe | I Can't Believe It's Not Butter ChickenButter Chicken is a recipe I have always loved, especially since I discovered Jimmy’s Butter Chicken on the Masterchef Australia website.  With recent changes to our diet and lifestyle, I have had to come up with some tweaks to this butter chicken recipe to make it ‘health friendly’.

In this recipe, I have tweaked Jimmy’s Butter Chicken recipe (the delicious spices and flavours are to Jimmy’s credit) to reduce the fat content and to fit the Saute Pan. I hope you enjoy my I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Chicken recipe!

This recipe has 2 components – Tandoori Chicken and the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Sauce. It is recommended the chicken is marinated for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight if possible.

tandoori chicken

If you like Tandoori Chicken, this recipe is great for school lunches to put into a wrap with some salad or on skewers for the bar-be-que with some lime juice and fresh coriander.

prep time: 3 hours – overnight
cooking time: 15 mins
serves: 6 – 8 with rice

the ingredients

1kg chicken thigh fillets, cut in three
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tspn salt
1 cup no-fat natural yogurt (I recommend tamar valley no-fat all natural tasmanian yogurt)
2 tspn garlic paste, minced on microplane/grater
2 tspn ginger paste, minced on microplane/grater
2 tspn garam masala
1 tspn dried fenugreek leaves
1 tbsp sunflower oil

the fun

  • add all marinade ingredients except the sunflower oil into a bowl and mix well
  • coat chicken pieces with marinade and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight
  • pre-heat oven grill and place chicken on a grill rack with a tray underneath to catch the drippings
  • grill for 8 – 10 minutes, brush with oil
  • turn chicken over and grill for another 4 – 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked
  • set aside to rest

i can’t believe it’s not butter sauce

prep time: 10 mins
cooking time: 1 hour
serves: 6 – 8 with rice

the ingredients

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 tspn ginger paste, minced on microplane/grater
1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2g blade mace
2 tbsp cashew paste
600g ripe tomatoes, chopped
50ml tomato puree
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn honey
1 tspn garam masala
1 tspn kashmiri chilli powder
1 tspn dried fenugreek leaves
100ml no-fat natural yogurt (recommendation above)
green chilli, chopped for garnish
fresh coriander for garnish
no-fat natural yogurt for garnish

the fun

  • heat oil in saute pan over a medium heat for 2 mins
  • add onion and cook until translucent
  • add ginger paste, green chillies, cardamom, mace and cashew paste and fry off for a further 2 mins
  • add tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and sale and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 mins
  • remove from heat and set aside to cool
  • once cooled, blend to a puree to make a smooth sauce
  • strain through a sieve
  • return sauce to the Saute Pan and simmer over a low heat
  • add honey and the pre-cooked tandoori chicken pieces, along with the drippings from the tray
  • stir and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes
  • sprinkle over garam masala, kashmiri chilli powder and dried fenugreek leaves
  • add dollops of the no-fat natural yogurt and stir through
  • garnish with green chillies, fresh coriander and no-fat natural yogurt
  • serve with rice or naan bread


You can find most of the spices in any Indian grocer or online store.

recipe inspired by

Jimmy Seervai from Masterchef Australia series.

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