Lower Calorie Butter Chicken

A lighter version of the restaurant classic.

2-4 servings

Time: 1 hr

By Ethan Chlebowski

This recipe was originally part of my "restaurant vs. low cal" recipe video series. If you're looking for the restaurant-style recipe, you can find that here.

For lower fat and high protein, I've substituted the cream for low-fat condensed milk, the cashews for a spoonful of peanut butter, chicken thighs for chicken breast, and reduced the amount of oil and butter during cooking.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Marinated chicken

    • chicken breasts
      , cubed
      ~300 g~3/4 lb
    • yogurt
      , plain
      30 g2 spoonfuls
    • salt
      4 ga sprinkle
    • chili powder
      2 ga sprinkle
    • cumin
      2 ga sprinkle
    • garam masala
      2 ga sprinkle
    • garlic
      , minced
      2 cloves
    • fresh ginger
      , minced
      1/2” knob
    • lime juice
      1/2 lime
  • Curry gravy

    • baking spray
      for the pan
    • tomatoes
      , chopped
      400 g
    • onions
      , diced
      1/4 onion
    • garlic
      , minced
      1 clove
    • fresh ginger
      , minced
      1/2” knob
    • peanut butter
      15 g
    • chili powder
      4 ga sprinkle
    • garam masala
      2 ga sprinkle
    • sugar
      , optional
      2 ga sprinkle
    • turmeric powder
      1 ga sprinkle
    • butter
      28 g2 spoonfuls
    • low-fat evaporated milk
      45 g
    • water
      as needed
    • fenugreek leaves
      2 ga sprinkle
    • salt
      to taste
  • For serving

    • basmati rice
      , cooked
    • naan
    • cilantro
      for garnish


Step 1: Marinate the chicken

After chopping the chicken breast into cubes, add them to a bowl with the chili powder, ground cumin, garam masala powder, salt, crushed garlic, ginger, lime, and yogurt.

Mix to combine and set aside for 15 minutes to let .

Step 2: Sear the chicken

When ready to cook, set a cast iron or nonstick pan on medium-high heat. chicken pieces until and barely cooked through. Since this is a lower-calorie recipe, rely on the pan and yogurt marinade for browning. If you're worried about sticking, you can use a bit of baking spray.

Remove the browned chicken pieces from the pan and set aside. These will finish cooking in the gravy later.

Step 3: Start the gravy

Set a fresh pan over medium heat. Once hot, apply a light amount of baking spray then add the onions and for 2-3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, garam masala, chili powder, a small pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of turmeric. Let it for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add some water to thin the mixture, enough to blend well in the next step (about a cup). Stir to combine.

Step 4: Blend & simmer

Pour the sauce into a food processor or blender and pulse until completely smooth. Over the pan, pour and push the sauce through a metal strainer back to the pan.

Turn the heat on medium. Add the butter, evaporated milk, and cooked chicken. Stir the sauce and let until it thickens to your liking, usually about 6-10 minutes.

Step 5: Finish & serve

Crush the fenugreek leaves (kasoor methi) between your hands and sprinkle a pinch over top of the sauce.

Turn off the heat. Taste and adjust as needed with salt, sugar, spices, or a bit more butter for texture.

Serve the butter chicken with rice, naan, or vegetables. Garnish with cilantro.



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