Primal Butter Chicken

Some Ingredients

When you get a craving for Indian food, no other food will do. Most Indian food joints use nasty oils, loads of sugar, and meat that probably didn’t live the happiest, healthiest life. Although this dish takes a bit of time and TLC, it is well worth the effort and the wait.

I can’t take full credit for this recipe, as its basis is drawn from here: http://myheartbeets.com/paleo-butter-chicken/ but I’ve made a few tweaks along the way.

I’ve used yogurt to marinate the chicken in, and I’ve used a slow cooker to vastly reduce the ‘at the stove’ time.

One of my absolute favourite cooking ingredients is coconut – be it in the form of coconut oil, milk, or cream. Despite being demonized for years due to its extremely high saturated fat content (the fat in coconut is almost entirely saturated), coconut is truly one of nature’s super foods – not least because of its supply of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These particular types of triglycerides are rare in nature – especially in the quantities found in coconut. Small amounts are found in full-fat goat, sheep, and cow’s milk, as well as human breast milk. But who feels like they can actually consume full-fat dairy these days guilt free? (You should, it’s delicious, and nutritionally more dense than it’s watery low-fat counter-part).

Medium Chain Triglycerides promotes the production of ketone bodies, which the body can very efficiently utilize for fuel in place of glucose. When consumed, these triglycerides are shipped to the liver for conversion into ketones.

What’s so great about using ketones for fuel in place of glucose? Well, new research is suggesting that Alzheimer’s Disease is, in many cases, caused by insulin resistance in the brain. Some have even started referring to it as ‘Type 3 Diabetes.’ If the cells in the brain become insulin resistant, then glucose cannot be shipped into the brain cells to be used as fuel. This results in ‘plaques and tangles’ – a hallmark of this disease. Ketone bodies can be used as a fuel substrate because they do not rely on insulin to make it into the cells – they directly cross the blood/brain barrier.

Have a watch of this amazing TED Talk. Pretty compelling stuff, and well worth a try as there is little, if any risk in consuming this natural food product.

I’m sorry! I know your stomach must be grumbling, so without further ado…

Ingredients:

Marinade:

1-1.5 kg boneless skinless free-range chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 cup full fat, organic unsweetened yogurt (Clearwater Organic works brilliantly)
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

Directions:

1. Mix all of the spices and lemon juice into the yogurt in a large container that can be sealed – either with a lid, or cling film. I used a lettuce keeper.

Make the Marinade

2. Add the chicken pieces, stir to coat, and place into fridge for anywhere from 1-24 hours. My chicken sat in the fridge overnight.

Combine Chicken with Marinade

Curry:

2 tbsp ghee or butter or coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
1 can tomato puree
1 can full-fat organic coconut milk
1.5 tsp Kashmiri Chili or Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Garam Masala
1.5 tsp Coriander Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch or two of Fenugreek Leaves (also called Kasoori Methi)
Fresh Coriander

Directions:

1. Heat the fat in a pan on a low heat until hot. Add the chopped onions to the pan, and stir fry until dark golden brown (this will take about 15-20 mins).

Caramelised Onions

2. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir fry for another few mins until fragrant. Then add the spices, and cook for about a further minute, until the spices start letting off their aroma.

This mixture smells AMAZING.

This mixture smells AMAZING.

3. Remove the pan from the heat, and place the onion mixture into the bottom of the crock pot. Add the tin of tomatoes, and stir.

4. Add the chicken to the mixture, and then the coconut milk, mixing well.

5. Set the crock pot to high heat, and leave for 4-6 hours, stirring periodically.

6. At the last minute before serving, throw in the fenugreek leaves and freshly chopped coriander.

Garnish with fenugreek leaves and fresh coriander.

Garnish with fenugreek leaves and fresh coriander.

Serve on either white rice, or cauliflower rice.

Bon appetite!

Paleo-ize It! Instead of using yogurt for the marinade, you can use a cup of coconut cream as the consistency is about the same. Use coconut oil as your cooking fat, and serve on cauliflower rice.

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