Masala is a term that identifies a mixture of spices, that can be either a combination of dried spices or a paste made from a mixture of spices and other ingredients.
Chicken tikka is traditionally small piece of boneless chicken baked using skewers.
Chicken tikka masala is therefore a dish of roasted chicken chunks (tikka) in a spicy sauce (masala). The sauce is creamy, spiced, orange-colored and delicious!
There are endless variations to chicken tikka masala. If you’re fond of Indian food I’m sure you know a restaurant that serves what you believe to be “the best” chicken tikka masala.
So let’s put things straight. I’m not claiming that this recipe is THE RECIPE for chicken tikka masala, nor that it’s 100% proper Indian. This is a solid recipe for a tasty chicken, low in calories, that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.
As usual, I made some “IronYou” subs. No butter, no heavy cream, and used free-range organic chicken. Remember to be extra careful when buying chicken, choose only "higher welfare" chicken. None of that nonsense filled with hormones, antibiotics and water. Mkay?
30-Minute Chicken Tikka Masala Print this recipe!
Adapted from Step-By-Step Indian Cooking
Serves 4 to 6
2 boneless “higher-welfare” chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fully ripe tomato, chopped (or 2 canned tomatoes)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of honey (or brown sugar)
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
juice of ½ lime (or lemon)
1 container 6 oz / 170 gr plain yogurt
water to thin (if needed)
Preheat oven to 450°F (220°C), line a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly brush with olive oil.
Cut the chicken into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes and thread onto skewers (if you don’t have skewers it’s not a big deal).
Place the skewers (or chicken cubes) onto the lined baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven on the center rack. Bake for 20 minutes, turning skewers over once at the 10 minute mark.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil into a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and onion and saute’ until the onion is golden brown stirring frequently, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add tomato, cover with a lid and let simmer for 5 minutes stirring every minute or so. The tomato should be combined with onion to form a coarse paste.
Add the cumin seeds, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and honey (or sugar).
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. This is the masala (spice mixture).
Transfer the masala (be careful it's hot) to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and pulse until a dense and smooth paste is formed.
Return the paste to the saucepan, add cinnamon stick, lime juice and yogurt. Bring to rolling boil and immediately reduce the heat.
By now the chicken kebabs should be thoroughly cooked. With the help of a fork remove chicken cubes from skewers and add to the masala.
Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
One serving of the chicken tikka masala has around 180 calories, 11 grams of fat, 8.5 grams of carbs and 20.6 grams of protein.