A lightened up, dairy-free recipe for one of India’s beloved dishes, this recipe for Weeknight Slow Cooker Indian (No) Butter Chicken uses coconut milk and oil in lieu of butter for a healthier, paleo-friendly meal.
It’s is the perfect way to warmup a chilly winter night. Simply toss everything in your slow cooker and arrive home to an aromatic, flavorful dinner that’s better than takeout and sure to warmup any chilly winter weeknight!
PS: This post is dedicated to Bobby Flay’s cat, Nacho Flay (read on for the full story 😉 ).
Have you guys ever seen that Food Network show Beat Bobby Flay?
You know, the show where two restaurant chefs compete against each other by preparing a dish using an ingredient of Bobby Flay’s choice?
Then whoever wins battles Bobby in a contest based on the chef’s signature dish?
I honestly only watch Food Network’s Chopped and usually only when my husband is traveling for work…
Both because he’s not a big fan of culinary competitions or reality television (unless it’s The Bachelor/The Bachelorette and then he’s all about it, seriously) annnnnd because it’s one of the few networks that don’t run scary/horror movie previews. I don’t need that kind of trauma when I’m home alone ahem I am a huge baby.
I only recently started watching it after one of my former coworkers at the hospital shared that her son-in-law (a chef in upstate New York) was going to be on it and suggested we tune in. While I would never have considered myself a Bobby Flay fan (Team Tyler Florence over here), he has quickly become one of my favorite celebrity chefs.
However, his rise to the top of my list is not because he makes a mean enchilada, earned Iron Chef status, or has an ability to rock a waffle weave thermal shirt like a boss (is there a color he doesn’t own?).
It’s mostly—OK, solely—because I recently discovered he curates an Instagram account for his cat.
Yes. HIS CAT.
The ginger-hue haired Nacho Flay @nachoflay as shown below. I mean. Sorry, Tyler. You might live down the road in Mill Valley and own goats for pets, but Bobby Flay and his cat-curated IG feed takes the cake.
That’s the story of how I became an instant Flay Fan. Overnight. And FOREVER.
Based on the fact that Nacho Flay has more than 72K followers, I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the only one digging the chef’s feline-fueled social media shenanigans.
The photos are entertaining (see above; favorites include Nacho Flay perched atop Bobby’s shoulders, sitting at the table dining on poached sea bass #fancyfeline) and Bobby’s surprisingly witty captions.
In short, consider me Bobby Flay’s
newest biggest fan.
Soooo a few months ago, I was watching an episode of Beat Bobby Flay where he went up against an Indian chef.
It was on this episode that I learned the secret to making really good Indian dishes is to give the robust and earthy spice blends—especially curry—time to develop.
In other words, Indian food is best cooked low and slow.
At the time, I was in the midst of developing five grain-free, gluten-free chicken recipes for Delicious Living magazine and the episode is what inspired me to create a slow cooker version of a classic Indian dish—butter chicken.
EXCEPT! There’s NO butter in this butter chicken…
INDIAN CUISINE 101
Butter chicken is a staple in Indian cuisine and a good entry-level entrée for anyone who is knew to eating this kind of ethnic meal.
It’s normally prepared using boneless skinless chicken thighs, which are simmered in a mildy-spiced curry sauce with whole cream, yogurt, butter (naturally), and any variety of Indian spices—garam masala, coriander, ginger, garlic, cumin, curry, turmeric, chili, pepper, cinnamon, etc.
However, given that my assignment was to create five “paleo-friendly” chicken recipes, I knew I needed to nix the dairy, which would mean it wasn’t exactly going to be “butter” chicken, hence why I coined it Weeknight Slow Cooker Indian (No) Butter Chicken.
I know, too clever. 😉
The weeknight part is important because, well, it’s so simple you can throw it together during the busy, often-all-too-hectic workweek.
I knew I had to share this recipe because you guys have repeatedly asked for slow cooker/crock pot recipes. So much so that I went out and bought one last year.
While I’m still getting to know my slow cooker, every time that I do use it, I wonder why I don’t more frequently.
It seriously makes things SO easy you guys.
Still, I never cease to be amazed at how tender and delicious chicken turns out. The sauces are always thick and flavors rich and deep. Like I might find a slow cooker cooking club to join.
Or did the whole #catsofinstagram thing already make me uncool? OR cooler? Mwhahahaha. OK for real…
HEALTHY IN A HURRY
Back to the Weeknight Slow Cooker Indian (No) Butter Chicken recipe and why it’s healthful?
Yes. Let’s do that.
Instead of the slew of dairy products you might normally find in this recipe, I swapped butter with coconut oil and cream for coconut cream and milk. BOOM. Paleo-fied.
If you want to use ghee, which is clarified butter and actually a staple in Indian meals making it a worthy substitution. Just do me a favor and splurge on the grass-fed, organic shiz, won’t ya? I promise it’s worth the price.
Cashews are another option for thickening the sauce if you prefer that to coconut or have an allergy.
I’ll admit that Indian cuisine is not typically low calorie or low fat and neither is this recipe—although it does use heart-healthier saturated fats and is free of potentially inflammation-provoking dairy. It’s also made with good ‘ol real food ingredients, which are what you should focus on instead of calories anyway, capiche?
Make it more healthful by using light coconut milk instead of cream and serve atop cauliflower rice for an extra serving of vegetables instead of basmati or jasmine rice (naan is also an option and a delicious one I might add!).
Below is the image and a teaser from the article in print. 🙂
You can snag the full recipe here:
Plus, check out the full digital issue here:
/// NOTES ///
* Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimidate you! I promise that the hardest part is measuring the spices and I have total confidence you can handle that task! Ha.
* No slow cooker or crock pot? No worries. Make it on your stovetop in a large pan or Dutch oven. BUT if you do have a slow cooker, I highly encourage letting it be your secret weapon. If you shy away from using slow cookers because you dislike that your entire home will smell like whatever is cooking in it (previously guilty), consider setting it up outside in the garage or someplace safe. Seriously.
WINNER, WINNER MORE CHICKEN DINNERS!
* Looking for the other four paleo-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free chicken recipes that I whipped up for Delicious Living?
See below my friends!
To recap, there’s only two things you need to do after reading this post…
- Follow Bobby Flay’s cat on Instagram @nachoflay
- Make this Weeknight Slow-Cooker Indian (No) Butter Chicken recipe, ASAP.
- Share your favorite slow-cooker meals because I’m all about using this magical thang this winter. … AND stay tuned for another slow-cooker recipe next month. Or year. Don’t pressure me. 😉
In the meantime, there’s a healthful holiday breakfast bake recipe that you’ll capital L, LOVE on it’s way soon!
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
What’s your favorite slow cooker recipe?
Do you call it a slow cooker or a crock pot? Does it matter? But really…
GET SOCIAL >>>
If you give this recipe a try, snap a photo and share the love on social media! Be sure to remember to tag me @honestlynourished in your photos and use #honestlynourished so I can see it and send you some major social love. You guys always impress me with your food pics!
PLUS, if you don’t ‘gram or snap it, did it even happen?! ?