Skip to content
February 29, 2012 / Kate

Low Fat Chicken Tikka Masala

All the taste that won’t go to your waist.

I love Tikka Masala. It’s Indian comfort food at it’s finest, but, let’s face it, like all great comfort food, it has 50 billion calories. I know, pretty hypocritical coming from the gal who brought you Capownie, but I gotta save my calories somewhere!

I’m not a fan of arbitrarily making fattening dishes low fat or low calorie. Most of the time it’s all the fat and calories that make them really good in the first place. Plus I don’t like it when my chocolate cookies taste like applesauce. That said though, if I can find a way to lighten things up without losing the taste I’m all for it.

Which brings me to this recipe… It’s not in a pie, and it’s not dessert, but it was hugely popular with my friends and I got asked so frequently for the recipe that I thought I’d put it up here. Mostly it’s a wonderful recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, just tweaked a bit (seriously though, sign up for Cook’s Illustrated online, it’s fantastic). You can serve it traditionally on basmati rice (white, or healthier brown), or go super healthy like I did and serve it on quinoa cooked in low sodium vegetable broth. The tikka masala sauce is so full of flavor that you can, and should, put it on something relatively bland to not mess with the taste. I should also add that even though there are a lot of ingredients, it’s really not all that hard to make. Oh, and use fresh spices! Makes all the difference.


Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated “Chicken Tikka Masala”


1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can play around with this amount depending on how spicy you like things)
1 tsp table salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat

1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

Masala Sauce

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 fresh Serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (you can leave the seed and membrane in if you would like it to be spicier)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp sweet curry
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Heat oil in large Dutch oven or large saute pan over medium/low heat until hot. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ginger, chile, tomato paste, garam masala, and curry; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, and salt; briefly bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in yogurts and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler on high. Coat chicken in a thin layer of the yogurt mixture and arrange in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 6-7 minutes per side, flipping once.

Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce
(do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro if you want, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.



Leave a Comment
  1. frugalfeeding / Mar 1 2012 9:28 am

    I’ve done this too – I think it tastes great. Wonderful recipe :D

    • Kate / Mar 1 2012 12:15 pm

      Thanks, I think it tastes great too! I’ve made it both ways (with butter, oil and heavy cream and without), and I honestly can really tell much of a difference between the two. Win/win!

  2. Cap'n Stephel / Mar 1 2012 10:07 am

    Wow. Yum!

    • Kate / Mar 1 2012 4:12 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: