Monday, June 13, 2011

Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food. I discovered my deep love for Indian food when I went on that year-long vegetarian stint, you know- the one that ended when I got drunk at Mardi Gras '08 and ate a hot dog? Oops.

Whenever I go out for Indian food, the server asks me on a scale of 1-10 how spicy I want my dish, I always choose an 8 or a 9. I always regret when I choose a 9, but I seriously lack self-control when it comes to spicy foods.

So, I found a 'skinny' recipe that uses ingredients I have on hand  uses ingredients I purchased from World Market so I have them on hand now! Specifically, garam masala- I didn't have that on hand, so I picked it up from World Market when I was picking up curtains the other day. My curtains, coincidentally, are also from India. I know, I'm so worldly.
That's right. I painted my dining room that absurd color of green.
And I don't regret it!

I'm really excited about this 'lightened up' version of Chicken Tikka Masala! I really want to learn how to cook more ethnic dishes, and this was my first attempt at Indian. It took a little tweaking- the original recipe was a little acidic, so I added agave nectar to counteract the bite (plain sugar would work just fine, too). Also, the original recipe was really mild- I added cayenne and red pepper flakes to spice it up. This adapted recipe is spicy. If you're not an 8 or 9'er, I'd recommend decreasing the cayenne and red pepper flakes, or omitting them completely (if you're a wimp). 

Start by cutting 2-3 chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
Season with salt & pepper then saute for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat.
While the chicken is cooking, prep the onions, ginger and garlic.
Set the chicken aside.
Add some more oil to the pan, and throw in the onions.
Once the onions are golden, throw in the ginger.
Once the ginger is fragrant, add the garlic.
Then throw in all your spices!
Tumeric, Garam Masala, Cumin, Cayenne, Chili Powder & Red Pepper Flakes!
At this point I started wondering "did I do something wrong..?"
No, it just looks a little hideous, but the end result will be delicious!
Add crushed tomatoes. 
If you weren't using a nonstick pan, the tomatoes will deglaze the bottom of the pan. 
Easy clean-up is in your future.
Stir in the yogurt, milk, and agave nectar.
Simmer for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.
Stir in the chicken, and simmer for an additonal 15 minutes over low heat.
I served mine with naan. It was delicious. 
It basically blew my mind that I'm officially capable of making Indian food.

'Skinny' Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from SkinnyTaste
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 12-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek, 2%)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave nectar (or plain sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste (approx 1/2 tsp worked for me)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • salt & pepper
  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes (does not need to be cooked through). Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add an addition tablespoon of oil to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions- saute until the onions are golden. Add the grated ginger and saute for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the garlic, stir occasionally for one minute. 
  3. Add the cayenne, red pepper flakes, cumin, garam masala, tumeric, and chili. Sautee for 2-3 minutes, adding the last tablespoon of oil, if needed.
  4. Reduce the heat to low before adding the crushed tomatoes (or it will spit and bubble all over you.. trust me, I know.. ugh). Stir in the yogurt, milk, and agave. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Taste the sauce- add salt and adjust spices to taste.
  5. Add the chicken to the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Top with a generous amount of fresh cilantro. Serve with rice (preferably basmati) or naan.
Serves 4
Calories / Serving: 200 or 230 (depending on whether you use 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil)


  1. Looks yummy!

  2. Look out Buvanna. You have competition! This looks delicious. I can't wait to try it.