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The New Family / Easy Butter Chicken and Curried Chickpeas - The New Family
michael forbes butter chicken and curried chickpease

Easy Butter Chicken and Curried Chickpeas

We’re very fortunate that our kids are good eaters who are willing to try new foods, flavours and textures.

Before having kids, we used to order-in quite frequently and Indian food was a favourite staple.

After having kids, we cut back on the take out and delivery, but we wanted to keep enjoying Indian food. So, I went in search of a few simple recipes that the whole family could enjoy.

The Boy has always been crazy about chickpeas. When he was little, he would try to sneak them right out of the can as we were cooking.

There’s a great, and easy, chickpea recipe in Fresh Indian by Sunil Vijayakar that we’ve adapted somewhat to make it a bit more kid-friendly—reducing the garlic, removing the ginger and adding two pucks of frozen spinach in an effort to sneak yet more healthy greens into our kids.

I have no idea where the butter chicken recipe came from, nor do I know if it’s even remotely authentic. I do know it’s fairly simple to make and it tastes great. (I once swapped out the chicken for tofu and Kid1 gave me a death stare, pushed the protein around on her plate and insisted that I never pull that move again. I haven’t.)

This is has become our standard Indian meal—curried chickpeas and butter chicken, paired with steamed rice and some naan (we buy frozen packs of naan that cook in two minutes in the oven. The kids are both carb junkies who love the soft warm bread and it’s an easy thing to keep on hand in the freezer).

As an added bonus, this meal makes enough leftovers for two to three lunches the next day…

Curried Chickpeas with tomatoes (adapted from Fresh Indian by Sunil Vijayakar)

1 tablespoon neutral oil (Canola, Grapeseed, etc.)
1 clove garlic, minced, or put through a rasp
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 400 gram or 13 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 400 gram or 13 ounce tin of chickpeas
Frozen spinach
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic, being careful not to let it brown or burn, for about 30 seconds.

2. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

3. Add the tomatoes and brown sugar, stir well, increase the heat and bring to the boil.

4. Reduce the heat to medium, add the chickpeas, stir, and cook for 3 minutes

5. Add one or two pucks of frozen spinach (or fresh greens), cover and cook for 5 minutes until the dish is warmed through

6. Top with chopped fresh coriander before serving

Butter Chicken

3 Tablespoons Butter
One onion, Sliced
12 ounces/ 340 grams boneless skinless chicken, cut into a large dice (I use thighs, but use whatever part of the bird you prefer)
2 teaspoons garlic (minced or put through a rasp)
1 teaspoon minced ginger (or put through a rasp)
1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric*
2 teaspoons ground chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground coriander
8 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes with juice
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 small container of plain, unsweetened yogurt

1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and melt the butter until it just starts to foam. Add the sliced onions and cook until they begin to turn translucent.

2. Stir in the crushed garlic and ginger and cook for a minute or so—don’t let the garlic stick or brown as it will turn bitter.

3. Add the dry spices: cinnamon, turmeric, chilli and coriander, stirring for about 1 minute.

4. Add the chicken, stirring occasionally until the chicken begins to turn white.

5. Add the tinned tomatoes followed by the ground almonds. Mix thoroughly, then cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Before serving, add the yogurt, give it a stir, and allow to heat through.

Serve with fluffy rice and warm naan.

*One word of warning, turmeric stains. It turns blue things green, it leaves strange little spots on counter tops. It is stronger than Superman and stays around longer than random glitter after a day of crafts.

Get Michael’s meal-planning tips here.

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Michael Forbes

About Michael Forbes

Michael, a communications professional by day, is a father of two, an avid (but bad) hockey player, and an amateur cook. He finds it incredibly challenging to write about himself in the third person. View all posts by

'Easy Butter Chicken and Curried Chickpeas' have 4 comments

  1. October 8, 2014 @ 5:50 pm Heather

    This looks delicious! I’m going to give it a try some time next week – one question though, how important is the Tumeric to the flavour? I have everything else the recipe calls for on hand and I’m wondering if it’s worth adding to my grocery list.


    • Michael Forbes

      October 9, 2014 @ 12:03 pm Michael Forbes

      You can likely skip the turmeric. It is only half a teaspoon (and none of your kitchen counters, towels or implements will be at risk of stains).

      Let me know how it turns out…


  2. October 20, 2014 @ 1:47 pm Jennifer

    The butter chicken recipe is fantastic. I doubled the recipe and didn’t have coriander so substituted cumin instead. Served with basmati rice, naan and green beans. My husband and three yr old son loved it. Definitely in the rotation. Thanks for sharing.


    • Michael Forbes

      October 21, 2014 @ 2:29 pm Michael Forbes

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know.


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