This lightened up Chicken Tikka Masala will bring your neighbors to your door. Or at least your husband and kids to your table.
Living in Asia with all my food allergies can be challenging. It means I can never eat out at local restaurants, which makes me a not-so-fun, and expensive, dinner date. It’s always Western. And I hate to admit how often that “Western” is TGI Fridays, since it’s pretty much the only Western restaurant in the area I live. And one of the only restaurants that serves American-sized salads- and this girl can eat some salad.
And the smells of local cuisine! The smell of a good Indian restaurant always makes me sad I cannot partake. There is a lot of Indian food here in KL– about 15% of Malaysia’s population is Indian.
However, a blessing in disguise: my dietary restrictions have made me a better, and more versatile cook. Since I can’t go have Tikka Masala at the restaurant downstairs, I had to learn to make it. Alex (who’s British) loves Indian– where Chinese is the quintessential take out cuisine in the States, he has always relied on Indian takeout for busy weeks. Well– he did– before he met me! We tried it a few times, but I either got sick, or was too scared to eat it after we ordered it.
A couple of weeks ago, determined to finally use the 5,000 packets of Indian spices I’ve collected over the past year, I looked up a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala.
Lightened Up Chicken Tikka Masala
Two tablespoons of peanut oil, 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt, 1/2 stick of butter, and a 1/2 cup of heavy cream. (<– “Traditional” take-out version of Chicken Tikka Masala)
Yikes! Okay, so maybe there are TWO blessings in disguise that I can’t eat Indian food out.
Although I do think healthy fats are an essential part of any diet, — but that amount is really unnecessary, and too much fat to be a regular part of anyone’s diet.
The lightened up version was a success! Alex said he preferred my version to the ones he eats out. It’s still chocked full of all the aromatic spices that makes Indian cuisine so alluring, but the fat content is reduced by more than half!
Serve it with rice, if you prefer. Or choose to serve it with cauliflower “rice” —
- 1½ pounds chicken breasts (3 large breasts)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons plain, low-fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lime
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (for browning)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large onion (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¼ cup freshly grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- 1½ tablespoons cumin
- 1½ teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (more of less- to taste!)
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- 1½ cups tomato puree
- ½ cup light coconut milk (canned)
- cilantro (optional, garnish)
- 1 large head of cauliflower (riced)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (or more, to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Cut the chicken into large chunks, and season with sea salt. In a storage container (or I use a plastic ziplock bag), add the chicken, yogurt and lime juice. Marinate for 1-6 hours (the longer, the more tender the chicken will be).
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add the minced onion and garlic, and saute until translucent (about 7-10 minutes).
- Add the garlic, and all the spices and salt. Saute together for a couple of minutes.
- Add the tomato puree. Bring to a low simmer, and reduce heat.
- In a separate frying pan, add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and add the chicken. Brown the chicken. It doesn't need to be cooked through.
- Add the browned chicken to the large skillet with the sauce. Continue to cook on medium low for about 15 minutes, until flavors have combined and chicken is fully cooked.
- Add coconut milk.
- Serve over rice or cauliflower rice, and garnish with cilantro.
- Chop the head of cauliflower roughly. Add the cauliflower to a food processor (small batches work the best- don't fill the food processor more than ½ way full), and process until the cauliflower is broken up into pieces and resembles rice.
- In a skillet, heat up sesame oil. Add the riced cauliflower, and saute until heated through. Add the sea salt and turmeric. Rice should be cooked until soft, but not mushy or browned.
What restaurant dishes have you given a healthy makeover to?
Other Lightened Up Chicken Tikka Masala Recipes:
- Lightened Up Chicken Tikka Masala, by Home Sweet Jones
- Low Fat Chicken Tikka Masala, by Lose Baby Weight
- Chicken Tikka Masala (Light), by Bees Baking