Chef Cristian’s Kelapo Coconut “Butter” Chicken

Butter chicken is possibly one of the most popular Indian dishes known by the rest of the world. The allure of this dish, aside from its use of aromatic spices, is that no two dishes are ever the same. From restaurant to restaurant, and chef to chef, butter chicken always tastes slightly different. This is my rendition of butter chicken. By using Kelapo virgin coconut oil instead of butter I have achieved a lighter consistency and have added the slight aroma of coconut.

This recipe yields 4 servings.

– 3 boneless chicken breasts
– 2 cups of diced onion
– 2 tbsp of Kelapo virgin coconut oil
– 5 garlic cloves (2 tbsp of minced garlic)
– 1 tbsp of fresh minced ginger
– 2 tsp of garam masala
– ¼ tsp of ground cardamom
– ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
– 3 bay leaves
– ½ tsp of cinnamon
– 3 tbsp of cashew butter (or peanut butter)
– 3 cups of pureed tomato (about 5 fresh tomatoes)
– 2 tsp of brown sugar
– plenty of sea salt to taste


1. The first step is to prepare all of your ingredients. This means that you dice the chicken, dice the onion, mince the garlic, mince the ginger, puree the fresh, ripe tomatoes in the blender or food processor.

2. Put the Kelapo coconut oil into a deep skillet and add the onion, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, and spices (not the salt). Fry the onion until it becomes translucent (about 15 mins.)

3. Once the onion is translucent, add the chicken and fry for another 10-12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add the cashew butter and stir it really well so that it dissolves into the mixture.

4. Add the tomato, sugar, and plenty of salt to taste. Remember that it takes a lot of salt to bring out the flavor in tomatoes. When adding salt, always add a little, taste, add a little, taste, and so on. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for another 20 minutes. It should thicken more as you cook down the tomatoes and evaporate the water. Serve with basmati rice, chopped cilantro and naan bread. Enjoy!


Chef Cristian Feher, Tampa Bay Chef Services

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