Paleo Butter Chicken

By: Susan Joy

This Indian specialty dish is so delicious and simple to make. It’s perfectly spiced and creamy, you’d never know that this recipe is dairy-free.

In this version, I’ve used smoked paprika, a little cinnamon and maple syrup to enhance the flavour and I’ve shortened the prep time. My Paleo Butter Chicken tastes just like the real thing. All my grandkids adore this recipe. Serve with Paleo Naan Bread (you can find the Naan recipe in my cookbooks).


  • 1kg skinless chicken breast, or thigh (chopped into bite size) 
  • 2 cups (500ml) coconut cream, (a thick brand like Ayam) 
  • Juice of 2 lime(s) 
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika 
  • 2 tsp garam masala 
  • 2 tsp ground coriander 
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/3 – 1/2 tsp cayenne, adjust to your taste 
  • 1 Tbsp ghee, or coconut oil for cooking 
  • 1 lge onion(s), finely diced 
  • 4 tsp minced garlic 
  • 3 tsp minced ginger 
  • 500ml (2 cups) organic passata/tomato puree 
  • 2 cups diced pumpkin 
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (100%), or coconut sugar 
  • 2 tsp sea salt 
  • Garnish with natural coconut yoghurt, or coconut cream and coriander leaves 


Add the coconut cream, lime juice, garam masala, smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne to a large bowl and whisk together. Pat the chicken dry and then stir the chopped chicken through the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 – 60 minutes.

Heat a large heavy-based saucepan on medium heat, add the ghee and cook the onion for 3 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 60 seconds.

Increase the heat and pour in the chicken and marinade, stirring often until the chicken has changed colour. Add in the passata, pumpkin, maple syrup and salt. Once the mixture has come back to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook covered for 20 minutes stirring from time to time, then cook uncovered for a further 10 – 15 minutes or until the chicken and pumpkin are tender.

Serve with cauliflower rice, paleo Naan bread and a dollop of natural coconut yoghurt or a swirl of coconut cream on top. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Article supplied with thanks to The JOYful Table.

About the Author: Susan is an author of The JOYful Table cookbook containing gluten & grain free, and Paleo inspired recipes for good health and wellbeing.

Feature image: Supplied

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