This is one of those recipes that comes with a story from a faraway place. From Mumbai to be more precisely. On a Saturday afternoon in November 2012 Matthijs and I left our tiny country to explore the world for a bit. So at 8 in the morning of the following day we arrived completely exhausted in India after having encountered our first experience with white privilege. But that's a story for another time. We managed to exchange some money and find a taxi to our hotel - having all the Eat Pray Love feelings while driving through Mumbai - where we checked in and crashed on our not too comfortable bed in a room with some curious aspects like a light bulb in the wall at ankle height. That first day we stayed inside, being too tired to navigate a new country and culture. But we were lucky to have a hotel with a restaurant, so we stayed in for dinner. And that's when I had butter chicken, or murgh makhani as it's called in India, for the first time.

At the time, we knew nearly nothing about Indian food. But our waiter was kind, so when we both ordered rice, he explained that it was customary to order one serving and share. This is one of my favourite parts of Indian cuisine, and when we go out for dinner now we still tend to order things we both wish to try and share. As for that first time I had butter chicken: apart from remembering that I loved it and that I could get used to eating Indian food for weeks on end, I have no recollection of the taste whatsoever. So over the past year and a half I have been trying different recipes, combining those things that I loved, replacing ingredients that I didn't like. So this is by no means an authentic Indian recipe, but it is delicious and FODMAP friendly. And for a change - one that makes Matthijs truly happy - a recipe that is only a little bit spicy. Although I do sometimes add a bit more green chilli just for me.

60g butter
30ml rapeseed oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 long green chilli, sliced
2tsp kasoori methi
30g ginger, peeled + grated
300g passata
1tsp garam masala
1tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
1/2tsp sea salt
1tbsp rice malt syrup
125ml single cream

makes 550ml
serves 4 - 6

  • Heat 60g butter and 30ml rapeseed oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 bay leaves and the slices of half a long green chilli. Sauté for a few seconds.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and stir in 2tsp kasoori methi and 30g grated ginger. Cook for another few seconds, until fragrant and starting to turn golden.
  • Add 300g tomato passata, 1tsp garam masala, 1tsp kashmiri red chili powder, 1/2tsp sea salt, and 1tbsp rice malt syrup. Stir to blend for a couple of minutes. Then, add 125ml single cream.
  • Let the sauce cool a bit, remove the bay leaves, and make it smooth with a stick blender or in a small food processor.
  • Serve with chicken, paneer, roasted cauliflower, spinach, rice, naan, roti, or whatever you fancy. Or place it in a freezer-safe container and save it for another day when you don't particularly feel like cooking.

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