Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala

May 28, 2012 - 13 notes


Although it sounds like an Indian dish, chicken tikka masala actually originates from the UK where it’s referred to as the “true national dish”. There’s no such a thing as an authentic chicken tikka masala, but most recipes involve roasting chicken pieces (tikka) in a tandoori oven and then simmering in a spicy sauce (masala). If you’re making this dish at home, you can cook the chicken on a BBQ or use the grill function of your oven.

One of the reasons I like cooking curry at home is so I can make a healthier version and eat it without guilt. I usually substitute vegetable oil for ghee, and instead of adding cream, stir in Greek-style yoghurt for a thick and creamy gravy. The many layers of spices, ginger, garlic and chilli combined with fresh coriander, tomatoes and lemon juice in this dish means there’s definitely no lack of flavour. Here I’ve served the chicken tikka masala with some fresh and healthy side dishes; guferati (Indian green beans) and a mint and cucumber raita (yoghurt dip).

For marinade
1kg chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 Tablespoon ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground into powder
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground into powder
1 Tablespoon garam masala ?
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 cup Greek-style yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & pepper

What to do

Cut chicken into large chunks and combine with all marinade ingredients. Mix to coat, cover and marinate overnight in fridge.

Preheat oven to 200°C (or 400°F) or fire up your BBQ.

Roast chicken for 10mins each side in oven, or 5mins each side on BBQ, until juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.


For gravy
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 or 2 whole chillis, minced
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground into powder
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground into powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
6 tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup Greek-style yoghurt
Fresh coriander, roughly chopped

What to do

Heat oil on medium and sweat onions ? for about 10mins. Add garlic, chilli and ginger and cook for another 5mins. Stir in all the spices and fry until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and simmer for at least 10mins to allow some of the juice to evaporate. Season with salt & pepper and set aside to cool.

Blend cooled mixture until smooth, then combine with chicken and yoghurt in a large pot and simmer on medium-low heat until warmed through.

Garnish with coriander before serving with steamed basmati rice and naan.

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