The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

Butter chicken without the butter? What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

I loved watching Diff’rent Strokes when I was younger. I loved watching Gary Coleman’s character, Arnold Strokes, pull that cheeky face of his and say ‘What’chu talkin’ ‘bout Willis’? But this post isn’t about a TV show, it’s about a recipe that surprised my taste buds; a recipe for Butter Chicken. Not a traditional Butter Chicken recipe, but something that is a little bit lighter and quicker to make for those days when you want dinner in a hurry without having to resort to getting take-away. The most noticeable differences between this recipe and a traditional Butter Chicken recipe are:

  • There is no need to marinate the chicken overnight.
  • There is no cream.
  • There is no butter.
  • And the addition of butternut pumpkin.

When I read the recipe, I had a ‘What’chu talkin’ ‘bout Willis’ moment. Surely, this recipe is too good to be true. I had to try it and find out whether or not it actually worked; surprisingly, it did. It was tasty, flavoursome and this dish was on the table in less than an hour, definitely a dish worth a repeat performance. This Butter Chicken dish can serve four.

‘What’chu talkin’ ‘bout Willis’ Butter Chicken
1 tbs oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm-piece fresh ginger, peeled, grated
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp garam marsala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli flakes
400g butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
2 cups (500ml) salt-reduced chicken stock
¼ cup (70g) tomato paste
800g chicken thighs, cut into 4cm pieces
½ cup (125ml) low-fat greek yoghurt
1½ tsp cornflour
Steamed rice, to serve

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and ginger for 4 minutes or until soft. Stir in the cinnamon, garam marsala, coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric and chilli for a minute or until the spices become aromatic. Stir in the pumpkin, stock and tomato paste. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until the pumpkin is just tender. Add in the chicken and stir in to cover the chicken in the sauce. Cook the chicken for about 7 minutes or until almost cooked through. Remove from heat.

Cook onion and gingerAdd spices Add pumpkin, stock and tomato paste Add chicken

Spoon 2 tbs of the sauce into a heat proof bowl. Whisk in the yoghurt and cornflour until smooth and combined. Slowly stir into the chicken mixture. Stir over low heat for 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Serve with rice

Combine 2 tbs of sauce with yoghurt Add yoghurt to saucepan Serve butter chicken with rice

Note: I’ve only made a slight change to the recipe, i.e. I used chicken thigh meat instead of chicken breast because it’s tastier. If you would like to see the original recipe, click here.

Single Post Navigation

10 thoughts on “Butter chicken without the butter? What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

  1. I was wondering what to make for my next fast day. I think I’ve found the answer. All I have to do is count up the calories. Fingers crossed it comes in at under 400 calories. Looks and sounds delicious. Inspired by yet another post. Thank you.

    • No worries at all 🙂 I think the dish is just over 400 calories, but I’m sure you could substitute with lower fat ingredients that could work. Let me know if this recipe makes the cut.

      • It certainly did with just a little tweaking. Awesome recipe. So delicious we will be making it again and again . My family devoured it. I’ve just posted my fast day version. . With due credit passed on to you of course. Not sure why the ping back hasn’t worked.

      • Lovely – I’ve just read your post! For some reason, your ping back required my approval? Strange, because your comments don’t require approval… Oh well.

  2. Looks great. That said, when I want butter chicken, I want butter 🙂

  3. Pingback: The 5-2 Challenge. A Fast Day Curry. Butter Chicken With A Difference. | The Paddington Foodie

  4. I’ve never heard of Butter Chicken…. but this recipe for No-Butter Butter Chicken looks simply amazing !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Pastry Affair

The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

A Sweeter Thing

The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

Jo the tart queen

food, travel & photography


baking cake that bring joy to your tastebud, smile to your face and happiness to your belly

Bookabye Baby

Book reviews, plus stuff and things


eat, see, play, feel, travel, learn, teach........& stuff!!

The Paddington Foodie

Food That Makes Me Smile

David Lebovitz

Baking and cooking recipes for everyone


a recipe sharing and bento blog

French Food Fool

Cooking & Eating & Living in Paris (& Leaving it, sometimes)

Bunny Eats Design

Happy things, tasty food and good design


Eat | Entertain | Explore

Not Quite Nigella - Recipes, Restaurants and Travel

The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

my sweet addiction

a conversation about all things sweet


it's worth the whisk...


The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

I Eat Therefore I Am

The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

Yummy Lummy

I cook meals for one

Break Room Stories

Service Industry Stories and More Since 2012

We're Calling Shenanigans!

Two Real Girls attempting the Pinterest Impossible

Girl On Grill Action

Stick a fork in it

Flora's Table

Because we are Cooks, not Chefs!


An online food diary, by Pike.

%d bloggers like this: