Vegetarian Butter Chicken

butterchicken

Once a year, I am inspired to undertake the ordeal of a detoxifying cleansing program.  This usually occurs after a long winter of over-indulgent eating and an extended period of activity no more strenuous than operating a remote control.  Ah…those dark Canadian winters.  But when the days get longer and the pants get tighter (and my favourite shows’ seasons start wrapping up), I get off my butt, throw out any treats I might have hidden in the recesses of the cabinets, and kick-start the Spring with a good cleanse.

 Detox Box

A dear friend, knowing my penchant for over-complicating things and always trying to support my causes, gave me a fantastic detox program called “The Detox Box” by Dr. Mark Hyman.  This is not just a simple cayenne-honey-lemon-water-drink-for-three-days kind of thing.  No ma’am.  This program tackles your toxic issues from multiple angles over a multi-week period.  We’re talking journal-writing.  We’re talking yoga three times a day.  We’re talking dry-brushing and lavender and salt baths and meditation and long walks and saunas and naps and cardio sessions.  And we’re talking food, or rather no food: no meat, no chicken, no dairy, no soy, no sugar, no nightshade vegetables, no starches, nothing processed.  If it comes in a package, it’s out.  Only non-predator fish, grains, many vegetables and some berries.  Oh, and clay.  We can’t forget the bentonite clay.

Now I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, so I will avoid the quackery of a detoxifying cleanse.  I do believe that the body is essentially self-regulating and that our internal systems are designed to promote a healthy state.  However, I can personally attest to the benefits of the program:  my skin gets clearer, my organs get a holiday, my senses become heightened, my appreciation for simple food grows, and the quality of my nutrition improves tenfold.

And what does this have to do with butterless, chickenless butter chicken?  Well let me tell you, it’s not easy coming up with meal variations using the same few food items for three weeks.  Some Internet research offered up a few options, one of which was the basis for this yummy dish.  It’s completely vegan and while it doesn’t exactly duplicate the traditional Murgh Makhani from the Mugal Empire, it does work at capturing the spirit: creamy and rich, flavourful without being too spicy, and it’s great on rice.

for more info on using dried chickpeas, click here.

For more info on using dried chickpeas, click here.

One of the great things about this kind of dish is the flexibility the recipe allows.  Use any combination of vegetables you might have on hand; my favourite is cauliflower, carrot and pea with chickpeas.  And while almond butter might be the easiest to find, experiment with different nut butters like cashew or hazelnut.  You also don’t need to be on a detox program to enjoy this dish, but I grant you full permission to feel redeemed upon its consumption.

Recipe on following page…

Vegetarian Butter Chicken

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1tsp paprika
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 cups chopped veggies (carrots, cauliflower, celery, or whatever)
1/4 cup almond butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lightly brown onion in olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, turmeric, paprika, chili powder and coriander and stir for a minute or two.
  • Add veggies and a splash of the vegetable broth, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. 
  • Mix almond butter with 1 cup of the broth and stir until mixed well. Add to pan and cook 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently.  Add coconut milk, salt and pepper and let simmer for another minute.

Serve with rice or quinoa.

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08 2009

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  1. Sheila #
    1

    Loved this recipe. I made it with carrots, potatoes and celery. I think it would work well with tahini substituted for almond butter (and therefore good for those nut free situations), with maybe some lemon, ginger and cilantro.



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