Friday, March 8, 2013

Shrimp in a Butter Sauce (Indian Comfort Food Done Dairy-Free)

Butter Chicken used to top my list of favorite Indian dishes--the thick, rich sauce full of butter and cream, is both decadent and comforting. I was first introduced to it in Japan of all places, at a restaurant in the Roppongi district of Tokyo. I spent a fair amount of time in Tokyo for work and always tried to fit a dinner at Moti in whenever I could. When I moved to Hawaii and really started my cooking journey, I got pretty good at recreating the dish for dinner parties but never published it on the blog.

For Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs, I wanted to try one of Madhur Jaffrey's versions, Chicken in Butter Sauce, but I am not eating chicken anymore. My mom is visiting and likes shrimp so I decided to switch things up and make it Shrimp in Butter Sauce instead. I also made it dairy-free--more to use up the half a container of dairy-free coconut creamer I had in the fridge than anything else. (Although cutting the saturated fat out of a dish normally laden with it, is a good reason too.) ;-) My changes are in red below. 

Served over a simple rice-cooker basmati rice, it made both my mom and I happy.  

Shrimp in a Butter Sauce
Madhur Jaffrey 100 Weeknight Curries
(Serves 4-6

For Sauce:
4 Tbsp tomato puree
2.5 cm (I-inch) cube fresh ginger, peeled and grated very finely to a pulp
300 ml (1/2 pint) single cream (I used non-dairy coconut creamer)
1 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 fresh hot green chilli, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds

For Chicken:
100 g (4 oz) unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance buttery stick)
1 quantity of Tandori Chicken or other cooked chicken (I subbed in 14 oz of medium-large [41-50] raw shrimp, peeled and deveined)

First prepare the sauce. Put the tomato puree in a large clear measuring jug. Slowly add water, mixing as you go to make up 250 ml (8 oz) of tomato sauce. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and mix well.

Heat the butter in a wide saute pan or a large frying pan. When the butter has melted, add the spiced sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium heat for a minute, mixing in the butter as you do so. Add the (pre-cooked) Tandori chicken pieces. Stir once and put the chicken on a warm serving platter, spooning the extra sauce over the top. (Instead, I added the sauce to the butter and stirred to mix, then added the raw, peeled and deveined shrimp and cooked about 8 minutes, until shrimp were pink and cooked just through.)  

Notes/Results: Rich and creamy indulgence food, this easy dish was really good. I would have liked a slightly bigger shrimp, but I went for the easy bag of already peeled frozen wild shrimp and they were medium-large. They did make putting this recipe together a snap so it was worth the size trade-off. I kept things on the milder side for mom--using only half a green pepper, removing the seeds, and adding just a small pinch of cayenne pepper, but the garam masala, ginger and cumin still give it plenty of flavor. Serve the shrimp and sauce on top of the basmati rice, add a green salad, and it makes an elegant  but quick and easy dinner. I would make this again.


This Shrimp in Butter Sauce is my Potluck entry for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. You can see what dishes the other participants chose to make by going to the post and following the links.

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. I've never had an Indian butter sauce but it always does sound so rich and delicious. I love that you've lightened it up...that should give me the kick in the butt to try it!

  2. Yummy! I have an entry for SS this week! :)

  3. I've always waned to try butter chicken. Being a shrimp lover, I think I'd like this even more. Looks decadent and delicious!

  4. MMMMM. I love these flavors....and with shrimp!?! Suberb!

  5. I love the sound of this. I like the idea of the spicy kick with the peppers and cayenne. It looks so great!


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