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Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

It's the perfect beginner's dish into the spice-filled world of Indian cuisine.
Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Chicken Tikka Masala is like Indian fast food: it requires a few simple ingredients (many of them pantry staples), can be thrown together in no time, and tastes amazing!

What Is Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken tikka masala is “chicken tikka”—chunks of boneless chicken marinated in spices and yogurt and then baked—in a masala sauce. The masala sauce is a creamy tomato curry sauce. Tikka masala is chunks of chicken marinated in speces and yogurt simmered in a creamy tomato curry sauce.

Many call tikka masala the national dish of England because of the Indian dish’s ubiquitous imprint on the country. It takes many years to master the complex spice art at the heart of Indian cuisine, but tikka masala is the perfect beginner’s dish—light on ingredients and relatively mild in flavor.

Chicken Tikka Masala Calories

A standard Chicken Tikka Masala has between 300 and 400 calories per serving. Our healthy version is only 280 calories per serving (without rice or other sides).

Is Chicken Masala Good For Weight Loss?

Tikka masala normally involves a heavy hand with both butter and cream, but we found that the combination of Greek yogurt and half-and-half gives you a skinny diet option with the same velvety texture for a fraction of the calories that can help you lose weight.

Vegetarian Tikka Masala

It’s extremely easy to make chicken tikka masala vegetarian. For a vegetarian option, swap out the chicken for chickpeas. You can also add green peas.

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala Nutrition

280 calories
10 g fat (3 g saturated)
824 mg sodium
20 g carbs
4 g fiber
2 g sugar
32 g protein

Serves 4

Prep: 10 minutes active (1 hour inactive)

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1⁄4 cup half-and-half

How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala

  1. Combine the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  2. Spoon half of the mixture into a sealable plastic bag, along with 1⁄2 cup of the yogurt and the chicken. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal, and massage the contents to evenly distribute.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
  4. Preheat the broiler.
  5. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or sauté pan over medium heat.
  6. Add the remaining ginger-spice mixture and sauté for about 3 minutes, until the ginger is soft.
  7. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the remaining 1⁄2 cup yogurt and the half-and-half and simmer while you broil the chicken.
  9. Remove the chicken from the bag and use paper towels to wipe the marinade from the chicken.
  10. Spread the chicken on a baking sheet and place directly underneath the broiler.
  11. Broil for about 2 minutes, until the top sides are nicely browned.
  12. Flip the chicken and broil for 2 minutes more.
  13. Rest for a few minutes, then chop into large pieces and add to the simmering tomato sauce.
  14. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  15. Serve over steamed rice.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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