Better Butter Chicken

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I love the original, full fat and utterly delicious traditional version of Butter Chicken. Living in Vancouver which has a large multi-cultural population, I've had many chances to dine on the real thing. It's a treat not to be missed.

BUT, as my doctor is encouraging me to make more healthy choices on a daily basis, I have embraced a lighter version for cooking at home and save the real thing for a special occasion.

Enter Janet and Greta Podleski. These two have created a series of cookbooks where they remake favourite recipes into healthier versions.  Of course, they don't have exactly the same flavour as the original, but the choices they make are good trade offs.

Of their cookbooks, the one I own is Eat, Shrink and be Merry. So far, most of the recipes I've tried have been successful. There is no question that using ingredients like full fat cream, sour cream and more real butter adds a lot of flavour to any dish, but I have found the recipes are great alternative for daily dining. I also fully embrace the fact they offer a healthier option.

So don't deny yourself those decadent recipes for special occasions, but make your daily eating habits one that supports your body in maintaining health. Interested? Pick up any of their cookbooks and start exploring.

Cookbooks by Janet and Greta Podleski
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Better Butter Chicken
4-5 servings depending on size


2 T             Butter
1 C            Chopped onion
2 tsp           Minced garlic
1 T             Grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp           Chili powder
1/2 tsp        Ground turmeric
1/4 tsp        Ground cinnamon
1 can          19 oz (540 ml) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 T             Tomato paste
1 T             Brown sugar
1/2 tsp        Salt
1/2 tsp        Fresh ground black pepper
1 whole cooked rotisserie chicken, skin removed and cut meat into large pieces.
1/3 C          Light (5%) cream
1/4 C          Light sour cream or plain yogurt
1 T             Minced fresh cilantro


Melt butter in a deep 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring often until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add ginger root, chili powder, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook one more minute. Add undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want to prep this ahead of time - this is where you would set it aside until later.

Add cut up chicken, cream, and sour cream or yogurt. Simmer uncovered for 5 more minutes. remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve over hot rice if desired.

(Note - not sure if the diced, canned tomatoes vary in liquid content, but sometimes this ends up with not enough sauce. If so, just add a little more cream and sour cream/yogurt to taste.)