Winter days are slowly rolling in. We gravitate towards warmer meals that have a starch component. Meals that leave us with a feeling of satiety and satisfaction is high on the cooking radar!

Better for you butter chicken:


1 TBS canola oil

1 large brown onion, cut into chunks

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, grated

1 cinnamon stick

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 pinch Saffron

1/2 cup baby marrow, sliced into rounds

1/2 cup tri colour peppers, cut into chunks

1/2 cup baby corn, cut into half

200g green beans, sliced into pieces

80g baby spinach, rinsed

70g (1/4 cup) tomato paste

800g chicken breast fillets, cut into chunks

1 1/4 cups Fat- Free yoghurt (I use the Bulgarian Fat Free)

1/2 cup Fat Free milk (cold milk)

1 1/2 tsp maziena/ cornstarch

1 tsp salt (maximum)


– Heat 1 Tablespoon oil over low heat and cook onions until soft- not browned. Stir in garlic and ginger for 4 minutes or until soft. Stir in cinnamon, garam masala, coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric and chilli for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the cubed chicken and cook until done. Once the chicken is cooked, remove just the chicken from the pan. It helps if the chicken is cut into biggish chunks so it easy to scoop them out when needed.

– Once the chicken in removed, keep the pan on low heat and add the yoghurt and tomato paste to the spices. Stir until the mixture starts to boil. You can increase the heat slightly. Mix the cold Fat free milk and cornflour in a cup stirring well to ensure it is dissolved well. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the yoghurt, stirring as you pour. Stir well and remove from the heat.

– The above two steps can be done ahead of time. In the morning or early afternoon if you prefer to cook early. If you are making this all in one go, it does not take long either!

Just before supper time:

– Heat the last tablespoon of oil until hot. Stir fry the vegetables besides the baby spinach. A quick stir fry is perfect. Just to seal in the veges so that they do not become too soft in the yoghurt.

– Bring the yoghurt and spice pot back to the stove, and let it gently bubble on medium heat. Keep stirring so that the spices do not get stuck to the bottom. Once bubbling add the chicken and veggies. Close the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. This should take less than 15 minutes. Don’t let he vegetables get to soft, if the vegetables get too soft- they will lose flavour.

– Before garnishing, check for salt. First throw in 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, stir well and taste. I used to make this recipe with chicken stock, if I have no homemade vegetable stock on hand, I use salt. Try not to over salt your food as it is one of the risk factors for high blood pressure!

– Chop a handful of fresh coriander and have the baby spinach ready.

– Add the baby spinach. Give it a quick stir. Add the coriander and serve immediately with your favourite low GI starch!