Update: Oops I forgot to link the recipe! Link now included.
In my late twenties, I moved to the UK to train to be a chartered accountant. I wanted a career change and the opportunity to live overseas and combining the two seemed like a good idea. I didn’t love living in the UK. I was in Bristol which is quite wet and I missed my lovely aussie sun and the big blue skies we get here in Canberra. Canberra has very few industrial businesses so the skies are very clear and they have such a sense of space. But I did love having the opportunity to get to spend quality time with my grandmother and the ease at which I could travel to Europe.
Working as a trainee chartered accountant does not pay large amounts. For nights out, my fellow trainees and I often went to cheap Indian restaurants which were ubiquitous at the time and could well still be. Going to these restaurants often seemed to involve traipsing down precarious flights of stairs to windowless basements of old buildings. But to be fair to these restaurants, whilst the ambience wasn’t always the most delightful, the food was usual tasty, plentiful and cheap.
While some of the options were tomato based, many were heavy on the cream. Probably not very authentic but just delicious. And normally this was all washed down with cheap beer. Not a meal for those looking to lose weight.
Even though I loved this Indian food, it is never something I have cooked much at home. Recipes often contain a long list of spices that if I purchased them would probably go stale before I used them all up. I also found that many westernized Indian recipes are not exactly low in calories. I did find this prepackaged spice mix for rustic rogan josh from the Spice Tailor that wasn’t too high in calories and really delivers in terms of taste if you don’t feel like cooking from scratch.
I was a bit skeptical when I saw this recipe for low fat butter chicken. I thought it either wasn’t really going to be low calories or it was going to taste like a pale imitation of previous curries I have had. I have found some low calorie recipes are low calorie because the serving size has been adjusted to lower the calories, but there is no way you can call the serving a proper serving.
But I was so wrong to be skeptical. Sure it isn’t the butter chicken that I remember from my cheap Indian days in Bristol. But it is a great tasting recipe and is surprisingly cream – which is due in part to the use of yoghurt instead of cream.
To make this for one I used the following ingredients:
- 130g boneless and skinless chicken breast pieces cut in to largish cubes – amount 1 inch squared
For the gravy:
- 1 tsp of butter – I wasn’t sure what cooking butter was. I thought it might be ghee and I didn’t want to buy that just for this recipe, so I used normal butter
- 1/4 of an onion, pureed
- 1/4 cup of chopped tinned tomatoes. I didn’t have tomato puree but aside from that I can eat tinned tomato for breakfast the next day whereas puree tends to go to waste if I don’t do some serious meal planning
- 1/4 cup of skimmed milk
- 1/4 tsp of brown sugar
- Instead of Kashmiri red chili powder which I couldn’t find, I used ¼ tsp of paprika and a pinch of cayenne which google tells me is a good substitute.
- A pinch of turmeric
- 1/4 tsp of salt
For the marinade
- 2 tbs of thick low fat yoghurt
- 1/4 tsp of garam marsala
- 1/8 tsp of red chilli powder
- 1/8 tsp of salt
- 1/4 tsp of lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp of minced ginger
- 1/8 tsp of minced garlic
I followed the instructions pretty much as given. The chicken does need to marinate. The recipe says to let it marinate for 2-3 hours but I did mine overnight. I cooked the chicken in the oven for 9 minutes and after adding the tinned tomato in place of the tomato puree I only let it cook for 5 minutes and was cooked through. The recipe doesn’t say when to add the turmeric, Kashmiri chili powder (or substitute) nor the salt. I added mine at the same time as the tinned tomato and sugar. It is a bit confusing when the recipe says to add grilled chicken. Maybe it is called grilled in the US? I would call it baked.
This is not the quickest recipe to make and does involve both the oven and the stove top. It took me about 30 minutes to cook this dish excluding the marinating and preparation was about 15 minutes. The recipe has about 300 calories.