There is one protein that consistently shows up on my grocery list nearly every week: chicken.
So considering how often I cook with it, I’m always trying new twists to keep things from getting boring.
Recently I’ve been loving this easy homemade version of a dish often found in Indian restaurants, Chicken Tikka Masala.
This recipe is definitely unique, tasty, and perfect for a chilly evening.
Made with chopped tomatoes, a variety of fresh veggies, and a lot of antioxidant-rich spices, it’s packed with flavor.
It also has a hint of spiciness from jalapeño pepper and some rich creaminess too, from coconut milk.
In an Indian restaurant, the chicken would probably be marinated, roasted in a special oven and time-consuming to prepare.
But for my homemade version, I keep things quick and simple by cubing and sautéing the chicken.
So it takes about a half hour to prepare, and it’s realistic for a weeknight meal.
(Scroll to the bottom for the complete, printable recipe).
Here are the key ingredients you’ll need.
In addition, you’ll need the Indian spice blend Garam Masala.
If you don’t have Garam Masala, it’s easy to make your own version using spices you probably already have stored in your kitchen.
Here are all the spices I use for my homemade Garam Masala.
Grab a bowl and add all the spices shown above: cinnamon, ground cumin, turmeric, ground ginger, paprika, cloves, and ground coriander.
Then stir until all the spices are well combined.
That’s all there is to creating your own spice blend for this dish!
Next grab a clove of garlic and hold the knife flat over it.
Press down on the knife with your palm or fist, smashing the garlic, and breaking off the skin.
Then run your knife through the clove in every direction, mincing it up.
Grab a small onion and chop off the root end.
Then cut it in half and peel off the skin.
Dice up the onion.
Grab a few small carrots, rinse them thoroughly and chop off both ends.
Then dice up the carrots (no need to peel them).
Grab a jalapeño pepper to add a hint of heat to the dish.
Chop off both ends.
Then cut the pepper into quarters as shown and slice off the seeds from each quarter.
Then dice up the pepper.
Next, heat some oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
The best type of oil for this dish is something with a very mild flavor: sesame, sunflower, or canola oil.
Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until it’s golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
Then transfer the chicken to a bowl, cover it with foil, and set aside.
Add a bit more oil and cook the onion and garlic for just a minute or two, until they’re softened but not yet brown.
Then add the carrots and jalapeño and cook until the carrots are softened.
Reduce the heat to medium and add thawed chopped cauliflower florets (thaw in a heat-safe container in the microwave).
I use frozen cauliflower just to save a bit of time and effort.
Cauliflower is a rich source of Vitamin C and Manganese, both powerful antioxidants.
It’s also an excellent source of fiber, which helps cleanse the digestive system.
Also add a bit of tomato paste and the homemade Garam Masala, and stir until everything is well coated with the spices.
Season with salt and pepper.
Then add the chopped tomatoes and let that simmer for a few minutes.
Season to your taste with salt and pepper, and turn off the heat.
Then, instead of butter and cream, immediately stir in a bit of coconut milk to add rich flavor.
I love using coconut milk in this recipe because, in addition to creaminess, it adds the slightest hint of coconut, which is the perfect complement to the Garam Masala spice blend.
Then serve up a nice big bowlful of your Chicken Tikka Masala over some brown rice.
With all the veggies and antioxidant-filled spices, this dish is packed with nutrition.
The veggies are delicious, but they also really bulk up the recipe, so you can help yourself to a very generous portion for only about 270 calories.
This dish has a lot of unique, rich, savory flavor from the variety of spices.
As well as a hint of creamy richness from the coconut milk.
It’s a yummy new twist for chicken!
Here is the complete, printable recipe:
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- 4 tablespoons sesame, sunflower, or canola oil
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, fat trimmed and cubed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 small carrots, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
- 12 ounces frozen chopped cauliflower florets, thawed
- 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
- Garam Masala (see recipe below)
- 15-ounce container chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- To a bowl, add all the spices listed above for the Garam Masala. Stir until well combined, and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté the chicken until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl, cover with foil, and set aside.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the pan along with the onion and garlic and cook until veggies are softened, about 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots and jalapeño and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken back in, along with the thawed cauliflower, tomato paste, and the Garam Masala. Stir until spices are well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, simmer, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Turn off the heat and add coconut milk. Stir until well combined.
- Serve over brown rice.