This healthy version of Chicken Tikka Masala full of those delicious complex flavors that make this dish such a favorite. Need a great recipe for a special dinner but are on a budget? Try this one. You can have this delicious dish on the table in less than an hour. Any left overs freeze very well, or you can heat them up the next day for lunch. I like to make extra, so I have some to freeze for eating later. I also leave the covered pot in the refrigerator overnight before freezing, because the spices have more time blend together, and the sauce thickens very nicely. So delicious.
Chicken Tikka Masala can be made 1,000 or more wonderful different ways. I hope you enjoy this healthy version.
HEALTHY FOR SURE. Made with fresh vegetables and low-fat, low-calorie nutritious ingredients. I removed a lot of the fat by using a small amount of vegan butter for sautéing. Not much is needed at all, because as the tomatoes and onions cook, they will release water. For the chicken, I cut away most of the fat. You can also make this dish with all chicken breast or half chicken breast and half thigh meat. This dish is commonly made with cream, which I don’t use either. I use milk in it’s place. Milk has less fat, is healthier, and tastes delicious in this recipe.
BUDGET FRIENDLY IT IS. The tomatoes and onions I used were the inexpensive ones you find at your local grocery store for around $1.00 per pound. The milk and yogurt were the inexpensive store brand. One thing that can get expensive, but not if you comparison shop for them – the spices! There are a lot of spices in my garam masala spice mix, but I didn’t spend a lot for any of them. I found some at a dollar store, and others online or in specialty stores. As you can see from the outline below, I spent less than $7.00 on this recipe, and I can easily serve 4-6 people. That’s only around $1.25 to $1.75 per serving. What a delicious bargain.
2 tomatoes – $1.00
1 small onion – ¢.50
2 T. tomato paste – ¢ .50
1 lb. chicken thighs – $2.50
1 c. yogurt – $1.00 (store brand is fine)
1 c. milk – $1.00
2 T. spice mix – ¢ .10
4 c. rice – ¢.75
PREP TIME: 15 minutes (if you have pre-made handmade garam masala)
Diced tomatoes and onions – 8 minutes
Cube chicken – 5 minutes
Create marinade – 2 minute
COOK TIME: 35 minutes
Cook tomatoes and onions – 15 minutes
Cook chicken in sauce – 20 minutes
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium onion
1/2 tablespoon butter or ghee (I used vegan butter)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 – 1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs
1 cup of yogurt
1 cup of whole milk
2 tablespoons pre-made homemade garam masala spice mix – link to recipe
6 cups of cooked rice
- Marinate chicken in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 24 hours. It’s not necessary to marinate the chicken for 24 hours if you don’t have the time, but it’s worth it if you do. This recipe will still be delicious if you only marinate the chicken for 30 minutes. Begin by chopping the chicken into cubes and removing any large pieces of fat from the chicken. The marinade is quick and easy to make when you have the pre-made homemade garam masala spice mix handy. If you don’t, just click here for the recipe. In a bowl, simply add 2 tables of the pre-made homemade garam masala spice mix to 1 cup of plain yogurt. Stir well. Stop for a second! You must smell the deliciousness and taste test it if you dare! So delicious. Next, add in your cubes of chicken. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate.
- Chop the tomatoes and onions.
- Cook tomatoes and onions on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until they are softened. Melt ghee or butter in a 3 quart or larger pot. If you don’t have a 3 quart pot handy, you can also use a frying pan. I’ve made this recipe numerous times using a pan.
- Add the following ingredients to the pot of tomatoes and onions: Tomato paste; milk; and marinaded chicken along with all the marinade in the bowl. You don’t need to use an emulsion blender or any kind of mixer to blend or puree the tomatoes and onions mix. Simply add the rest of the ingredients to the softened tomatoes and onions mix, then continue to step 5 to finish cooking. The sauce turns out perfect this way.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Enjoy the wonderful aroma of this dish cooking. Your guests will love walking into your home with this dish cooking.
- Serve 3/4 to one cup of Chicken Tikka Masala over one cup of basmati rice. When I cooked the basmati rice, I added about a tablespoon of my pre-made homemade garam masala to the water. it not only gives it a wonderful flavor and wonderful color, but it also smells delicious while it’s cooking. Garnish with cilantro. Bon Appétit!