Butter-nut Chicken
Butter-nut Chicken

Butter-nut Chicken


2–3 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs garam masala
4 cm knob of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tsp fine sea salt
200g plain yoghurt
300g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2.5 cm chunks
250g peeled and seeded butternut pumpkin
500g cauliflower
50g almond meal
400mL tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
1 Tbs butter
150g brown or white basmati rice
75g blanched almonds, lightly toasted
Mint and/or coriander leaves, to serve


Using a stick blender, blender or small food processor, blend the chillies, garam masala, ginger and salt to the smoothest possible paste.

Transfer the spice paste to a cold saucepan and stir in the plain yoghurt until well combined. Mix the chicken pieces through and leave to marinate while you prepare the remaining vegetables.

Coarsely grate half the pumpkin into a bowl, and cut the remainder into 2 cm pieces. Finely chop the cauliflower, by hand or using a food processor.

Add the grated and chopped pumpkin to the chicken, along with the almond meal and passata, and stir to combine. Place over medium heat, then cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the pumpkin is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the butter and stir until melted, then season to taste with sea salt. For a thinner consistency, stir in 3–4 tablespoons water if desired.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. If using brown basmati rice, cook the rice for 10 minutes, then add the cauliflower and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the rice and cauliflower are tender. If using white basmati rice, add the cauliflower at the same time as the rice and cook them together for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain.

Serve the curry with the rice, scattered with the almonds and herbs.

Top Tips:

If using a food processor to chop up the cauliflower, be careful not to take it too far, or too much water will leach out of the cauliflower, making your rice lumpy and soft. You can avoid this by chopping by hand.

Chillies can be hotter at different times of the year, so if you’re more inclined to eat milder curries, use only two chillies.

Divide and Conquer:

For a vegetarian curry, replace the chicken with an extra 125g of cauliflower florets, and/or a drained 400g tin of chickpeas. Or to cook the chicken separately, place on a foil-lined grill (broiler) tray, season with salt and grill under high heat for 8–10 minutes, until cooked through.

Credits: Images and Text from Three Veg and Meat by Olivia Andrews, Photography by Phu Tang, Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

Photo Credits: Phu Tang.

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