Dairy-free Butter Chicken

by | Jan 30, 2020 | Food and cooking, Lifestyle

Dairy-free Butter Chicken

by | Jan 30, 2020 | Food and cooking, Lifestyle

Hello everyone and Gong Xi Fa Cai (Happy Chinese New Year) to you all!

I made this very un-Chinese dish before the New Year and have had overwhelming requests to share the recipe I used.  My kids absolutely SMASHED it, and I must admit that the adults in the house pretty well did too!

This recipe is based on the Skinnymixers Thermomix recipe for butter chicken.  I came across the original recipe after it was recommended to me by my friend Sarah (thanks Sarah!).  Find the link here.  Thermomixers have never been my jam, but I have so many friends who use them and I reckon if it helps you to cook healthier and fresher, then “Woo Hoo! Do it!”

Some of the quantities here in my recipe are different (because I kind of ad lib as I go and use what I’ve got in the cupboard/fridge) and the method is different because I used a pressure cooker and not a Thermomix.  But this is what worked for me and I am here to share it with you.

I also substituted out the butter (for olive oil) and the cream (for coconut cream) to make it dairy free.  If you needed to be nut-free, you could totally omit the almond meal if you wanted to.  The curry is so flavourful, that I don’t think it would make that much difference. As with all curries (and really all Asian dishes too) if you use fresh spices, your dish will taste soooo much better… BUT I used dried spices because… quite frankly, my garam marsala and ground cardamom were looking kind of lonely and unloved and I wanted to give them some attention. 😉


1.5 kg chicken thigh sliced (you could easily use breast in this, I just had chicken thighs in the freezer)

Chicken marinade

  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • ¼-½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp red food colouring and 2 drops of yellow food colouring
  • 10 g ginger
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • 15 mL apple cider vinegar

Curry sauce ingredients to go into pressure cooker

  • 50 g honey
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped finely/crushed
  • 20g of ginger microplaned
  • 30mL of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 170g (1 small tin) of tomato paste
  • 300 g brown onions peeled, chopped fairly finely
  • ½ cup of olive oil (or 125 g butter if you want to go non-dairy free)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp ground cardamom (or 5 pods bruised if using whole)
  • 2 star anise
  • 1-2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala 
  • 150 g almond meal
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut cream (or light coconut cream if you would prefer)
  • Salt to taste at the end if desired


  1. Make your marinade (ie just put all your ingredients together in a bowl and mix together)
  2. Cut your chicken into strips and mix into the marinade
  3. Optional step:  (I do this as I think browning adds more flavour – but you could just skip this if short of time/couldn’t be bothered) Brown your marinated chicken in a wok/frypan.
  4. Cover and place in fridge whilst you get the rest of the ingredients ready (at least 20 min or so)
  5. Place ALL of the curry sauce ingredients (except the almond meal and coconut cream) into your pressure cooker.
  6. Add about 1/3 of the can of coconut cream to the pressure cooker.
  7. Set your pressure cooker to “casserole” mode (ie 80kPa) for about 20 min and press START
  8. Stir through your almond meal and remaining coconut cream once the timer goes off that it is done.
  9. Serve hot with steamed rice, roti bread and some veggies on the side if you wish.

This was a dinner that we really enjoyed and the recipe made enough that there were leftovers for dinner another night (WINNING!!).  It is definitely going on our regular rotation list!

I hope you guys love it too, and make sure you post me a pic and a comment (and hit like and share) if you do!!

Until next time,

Keep cooking!

xxDr Megs

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About Dr Megs

About Dr Megs

Megan is a Brisbane and Ipswich-based paediatrician in public and private practice, and mum to two small children. You can usually find her working hard in private practice at Paeds in a Pod North Lakes and Greenslopes, and in public practice at Ipswich Hospital.

PLEASE NOTE: This blog is written for the purpose of providing GENERAL advice about common children's health topics (and of course recipes). It is NOT a substitute for a proper medical assessment and examination by a qualified physician. If your child is unwell, seek medical and attention and advice in person.