When I was in kindergarden, there was one boy in my class with a peanut allergy. From the very first day, that was always how I knew him. Actually, I think that's the only thing I ever knew about him. He always had to sit alone during lunch and snack time because in those days, pretty much every kid took some form of peanut in their lunch bag (PB&J, granola bars, etc).
Fast forward to today and most elementary schools are peanut-free. Everyone you know has some kind of allergy, sensitivity, or dietary preference. Cooking for a crowd is stressful business now because odds are you'll be dealing with some combination of nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, or vegan eaters. But you're not a short-order cook and ain't nobody got time for making 5 different meals.
That's why I call this recipe "Feed the World Butter Chicken." Not (just) because it leaves leftovers for days (though this one is seriously perfect for batch-cooking), but because it can feed anyone, no matter what the dietary restriction.
PLUS if you're serving plant-based eaters alongside omnivores, you can still make the same recipe but divide it into two pots at step 3 adding chicken to one and chickpeas to the other.
I know, I know, I'm a total life-saver.
This recipe, made as-is, is 100% gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free (coconuts are not a botanical nut), paleo, Whole30 compliant, and keto-friendly. I'm sharing the basic recipe, as well as modifications I've tried for any and all special diets you might have to cook for. If I missed any dietary restrictions, just let me know and I will add it to the list. ;)
Vegan/Vegetarian: add 3 cups of chickpeas instead of adding chicken
Low FODMAP: leave out the garlic and onions (and cook with garlic-infused oil if possible)
AIP/Nightshade/Lectin-Free: leave out the tomato paste and use turmeric instead of curry powder for a coconut chicken curry
Coconut Allergy: use avocado oil and almond milk instead
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 small can (about 1/2 cup) tomato paste
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- to taste sea salt