Easy Indian: Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala


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!

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mincing garlic

Next step in this skinny chicken tikka masala recipe: 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 saute 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.

sauteed onions

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 (love easy-to-store tomato paste in a tube!) and the homemade Garam Masala, and stir until everything is well coated with the spices.

Season with salt and pepper.


Then add chopped tomatoes (I like Pomi chopped tomatoes, which are affordable, completely all-natural, and packed in a BPA-free container) 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 for Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Easy Indian: Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 6
  • Calories: 268
  • Fat: 16.3g
  • Saturated fat: 5.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.6g
  • Sugar: 7.9g
  • Sodium: 201mg
  • Fiber: 5.3g
  • Protein: 18.9g
  • Cholesterol: 43mg
Recipe type: Healthy Chicken Dish
Total Time: 35 minutes
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
For the Garam Masala:
  • 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
  1. To a bowl, add all the spices listed above for the Garam Masala. Stir until well combined, and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, simmer, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Turn off the heat and add coconut milk. Stir until well combined.
  6. Serve over brown rice.


The Perfect Kitchen Tools for Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala:


  1. says

    I shamefully buy this stuff in a jar, and consume it in inhuman quantities. I am really liking the idea of making it at home. Plus, if its skinny I can eat more, right? Looks awesome, and definitely making this over the weekend :)

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says

      My homemade version amounts to about 1 tablespoon, so my best estimate would be 1 tablespoon of the Garam Masala. Hope you enjoy! :)

  2. Derek says

    I made this last night – my first attempt at making my own Indian food at home, and this recipe is FANTASTIC and super easy! I found a Garam Masala mix at the store that worked just fine (I used 1 1/2 Tablespoons because I like the really rich flavor) and added just a bit more coconut milk for personal taste, and had a frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix in the fridge that I used (I will probably use all cauliflower next time, but it was still good…). I cannot wait to try more of your recipes! :) Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  3. The Scrumptious Pumpkin says

    That’s great – it’s so good to hear that the recipe was a hit at your household! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  4. Amanda says

    I decided at six pm at work tonight that I wanted to make Indian food for dinner, and found your blog through a google search. I only had to pick up a few things on my way home, so that really sold me. Tikka Masala is a favourite dish of mine, and I was in need of some good comfort food.

    Your recipe did not disappoint! It turned out surprisingly well, considering it turned out I didn’t have any cloves at home. It was delicious, nice and smoky-spicy without being too hot (I left the jalapeño out as I didn’t really want mine spicy, and it held up well without it). I look forward to trying more of your recipes in the future!

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says

      Comments like this make my day, so thanks so much for taking the time to let me know how this dish turned out for you! :)

  5. Chrissy says

    I came across your recipe while randomly googling around for a lightened up tikka masala recipe. I just wanted to say WOW. My boyfriend and I were absolutely floored by how awesome and light and fresh this tasted.

    The only things I did differently were to use coconut oil spray to cook the chicken and veggies in my wok. I also omitted the jalapeño and added some English peas as we are spice wimps. The spice blend I bought had fennel in it and I had to add my own coriander.

    This was amazing. Thank you so much!

  6. says

    I made this tonight. I didn’t have exactly everything as described in the recipe like the chopped tomatoes, jalepeno and tomato paste. I had one fresh tomato I chopped up and a can of stewed tomatoes with jalepeno, cumin, and garlic. Even with these little changes it came out so great. My son and husband especially liked it. Thanks for the great recipe.
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  7. Beth says

    Yummy! I thought peas would be a great addition. I used low far coconut milk as that’s what I had on hand, but recommend full fat. Love this blog. It’s healthy without being “diet”. Great variety of recipes. Bravo!


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