Kid-Approved Indian Butter Chicken: Adventures with Food


Welcome to another family favorite recipe! If you have ever told me that (kid-approved) Indian food would be made on repeat in my house, I don’t think I would have believed you. Indian Butter Chicken is one of those dishes that I would never have guessed ALL my children would love as much as they do, but my five-year-old has declared it his “1000% favorite food”! (For the record, roasted tomato soup with broiled cheddar rates as “1% favorite” in his book. Sigh.) This recipe is both also remarkably healthy and budget-conscious –give it up for rice and chicken! (Speaking of budget, World Market is hands down the cheapest place to buy the ground coriander and cardamom called for in this recipe.)

You’ll notice it contains plenty of garlic. I always use more garlic than is called for in a recipe — Vive l’ail! I try to avoid kitchen “gadgets” as much as possible (for the sake of my cabinet space if nothing else), but I love having this garlic rocker; it’s simple to clean, easy to use, makes quick work of numerous garlic cloves, and since it’s stainless steel it will get the garlic smell off your hands if you use your hands to rinse it.


This dish can be gently reheated the next day if you wish to make it ahead (but I would suggest leaving the cilantro to the last minute if possible). Kid-approved Indian food that makes great leftovers? Please and thank you.

We have eaten Indian Butter Chicken with other kinds of rice, but the Basmati is especially good with it. Maybe it’s my Mexican-leaning tastebuds, but I think plenty of lime juice and cilantro is key to a flavorful dish here.

Indian Butter Chicken

Serves 8. Tweaked ever-so-slightly from Tasty Kitchen


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

    5-7 cloves garlic, minced

      1 teaspoon salt

        1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

          1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (This amount gives just a hint of heat -- little enough that all my kids are happy. Use 1/2 teaspoon if you want it with some kick.)

            1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

              1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

                1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

                  1 lime, juiced (I often use more to taste)

                    1 medium onion, diced

                      4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

                        1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Tomato Sauce

                          1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Petite Diced Tomatoes

                            2 cups half and half (in the name of all that is delicious and good for your body, please don't use the nasty "fat free" stuff.)

                              1 bunch chopped cilantro, or more to taste

                                Cooked Basmati rice (2 cups of uncooked rice is about right for us)


                                  Combine the chicken, garlic, salt, both peppers, coriander, cumin, cardamom, and lime juice, and marinate up to overnight. (I have made it with practically no marinade time and it still tasted delicious, but the chicken and spices must be combined before cooking.)

                                    Melt the butter in a 5-6 quart saute pan (you can also use a pot, though I think a saute pan works better), then add the onion and cook until softened.

                                      Add the marinated chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until all sides of the chicken are seared, about 10 minutes.

                                        Stir in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes; cover the pan and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

                                          Then stir in the half and half and cilantro and serve over the cooked Basmati rice.

                                            Reheats well for the rest of the week.

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