Paleo Chicken Makhani (aka Indian Butter Chicken)

The first week of 2017 is coming to a close and I still haven’t gotten used to writing 2017 on stuff. It is still 2016 in my proverbial book, or on my checks, or on my letters, or on everything else that I have to sign. I’m sure I’ll get with the program… just in time for 2018 to roll around.

Anyways, I am happy to say I mostly HAVE gotten with the program as far as the goals I set for this year are concerned. I have been more mindful (goal #1), especially when at the gym (goal #2). I have been cooking and eating real, delicious food–nothing processed or packaged (goal #3). Here I am writing my weekly blog post with a new recipe to boot (goal #4). But, I still have yet to release my phone from the clutches of my hands as much as I would like (failed goal #5, but working on it!).

How has the first week of this year gone for you? If one of your goals (or resolutions) was to eat more real food and less processed junk, I have the perfect recipe for you!

Last year my boyfriend introduced me to Indian food and completely opened my eyes to a new way of cooking. The flavors! The spices! The textures! Everything was so rich and delicious! After my first experience at an Indian restaurant, I immediately looked to recreate some of the delicious sauces in a way that didn’t require a cup of heavy cream or pounds of butter, however good those two things might be. This recipe for Chicken Makhani, aka Indian Butter Chicken, turned out to be a definite winner and is also boyfriend approved!

Paleo Chicken Makhani (aka Indian Butter Chicken)

Serves 4

Time from start to in your mouth: 40 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 oz can plain tomato sauce
  • 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • Cilantro and lime wedges for garnish


  1. Melt ghee or butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, sprinkle with salt, and brown on each side, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add onion and shallot to the same pan and sauté until translucent, just a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute more.
  4. Stir in the bay leaf, Garam Masala, tumeric, salt, cayenne, cumin, and black pepper. Cook for another minute.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the tomato sauce and coconut milk and let simmer for about five minutes until thickened slightly. Keep stirring.
  6. Add the chicken pieces back to the pan and cook for about 10 more minutes, until no longer pink in the middle. This can simmer for 30 minutes to an hour if you need to get the rest of your meal prepared in the meantime. Cauliflower rice pairs really well with this. There are some great recipes here and here.
  7. Once everything is done, plate up your chicken with lots of sauce, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.


4 Comments on “Paleo Chicken Makhani (aka Indian Butter Chicken)

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