Low calorie Chicken Tikka Masala – minus the cream and oodles of flavor



It has been an exceptionally busy week. I haven’t been able to visit any of the blogs, including mine. I did try to sneak into a couple, but always being on the run means missing out half the fun.

It was a great weekend though, with some cousins visiting us all the way from Dubai. Lots of coffee, tea, early morning and late afternoon chatter, gossip sharing, anecdotes, revisiting memories by all – all in all, it was fun.

Blogging, I missed you!

So I come back with a total sensory blowout and the MOST known and favored Indian dish of all time – Chicken Tikka Masala. Chicken Tikka

Chicken tikka masala is a direct take off from Indian classical dish Butter chicken. Butter chicken is mostly made of whole chicken that has been baked in clay oven or ‘tandoor’, while chicken tikka masala is made of tandoor baked ‘tikkas’ or kababs. Chicken tikka was possibly a discovery of the British, who loved Butter Chicken so much that they not only took it back to Britain, but also made it its signature dish symbolizing its colonial roots. They also tweaked the recipe a bit on the way, making it more tomato based, and cooking with boneless meat – a concept quite alien to pre-indepenence India.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Even about 6 months ago, my younger son would eat anything if we called it butter chicken and it looked somewhat similar to it. He has become a bit smarter now, but Butter Chicken still stays his favorite dish. Of course, for him, there is no distinction between ‘Butter Chicken’ and ‘Chicken Tikka Masala’.Evaporated milk chicken tikka recipe


Soon I learned to develop a recipe which would not cause us heart attacks, literally, while retaining its fabulous flavors, if not the appearance. At first I experimented with milk and low fat cream. It didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. They I started using Evaporated milk. Bingo! I don’t even add cream anymore, and the flavors are as original as you can get.

Cooking Chicken Tikka Masala


Great flavors, with half the calories.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Low calorie Chicken Tikka Masala - minus the cream and oodles of flavor
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
An alternative to the heavy cream method, this chicken tikka masala recipe cuts saturated fat and cholesterol into half or less. If you want to keep original flavors, sub evaporated milk with 1 c of heavy cream
For Chicken tikka:
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken pieces
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. Tandoori chicken masala powder (I use Shaan)
  • 1 tbsp. Chicken Tikka Masala powder (Shaan or any other)
  • 1 cup hung yogurt
For Gravy
  • 1 cup onion grated (water drained)
  • 2/1/2 cups chopped tomatoes skinned, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp cashew paste with milk
  • 2 pods black cardamom
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 Bay leaveshttp://www.thelady8home.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/DSC05740-1024x768.jpg
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 Green chilies slit
  • Coriander leaves for garnish
For Chicken Tikka:
  1. First, slit the chicken with knife/fork. Rub lemon juice, turmeric, red chilli powder, ginger and garlic paste . Refrigerate at least 4 hours to overnight.
  2. Hang the yogurt in a muslin cloth so that the water drains out (about 4 hours to overnight). Then rub this curd well onto the chicken pieces. Keep the chicken for another 2 hours or till you are ready to grill.
  3. Wrap the chicken pieces in aluminum foil and then grill on slow flame in an over till well done. Save the excess marinade. You can also skewer the pieces and grill them. It cooks quickly - about 5 minutes each side, so keep a close watch and don't let it burn.
  1. Soak the cashews in a little milk for 10 minutes and grind them into a paste.
  2. Heat oil, and fry the onions.
  3. Add bay leaves, peppercorns and black cardamom
  4. Next put the ginger and garlic paste and saute for a few seconds.
  5. Now add tomatoes and cook till they are soft.
  6. Stir in cashew paste, stirring continuously. The gravy will thicken at this point.
  7. Add the left over marinade and cook for a minute till the gravy looks well blended in.
  8. Mix in the evaporated milk and keep stirring.
  9. Once the gravy reaches creamy consistency, drop the chicken pieces.
  10. Add green chilies.
  11. Cover and cook on slow flame for 2 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle garam masala powder.
  13. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  14. Serve hot with naan or rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala



This post is linked to: Ladybug Blessings’ Hanmade Tuesday

 Adventures of a DIY Mom’s Terrific Tuesdays

Not just a Housewife’s Show Me What You Got


26 comments for “Low calorie Chicken Tikka Masala – minus the cream and oodles of flavor

  1. CCU
    July 9, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    This chicken tikka looks fantastic 😀
    It is so flavoursome but I can’t believe it is low fat!
    You excel yourself again my friend keep it up!

    CCU recently posted..The Cosmos Is CollapsingMy Profile

    • July 10, 2012 at 7:08 AM

      Thanks Uru!!

  2. CCU
    July 9, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    This chicken tikka looks awesome 😀
    It is so flavoursome but I can’t believe it is low fat!
    You excel yourself again my friend keep it up!

    CCU recently posted..The Cosmos Is CollapsingMy Profile

  3. July 9, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    We’ve missed you Minnie but visiting with family ALWAYS beats working on a blog. It certainly would for me because I don’t get to see mine often either.

    However, this chicken dish looks amazing even without all the cream and heart attacks. 🙂
    Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Vanilla Poached Pear and Apple CrumbleMy Profile

    • July 10, 2012 at 7:09 AM

      I agree Maureen!I missed reading the blogs though.

  4. July 10, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    This looks amazing! I don’t know if I can find all of the ingredients (mostly hung yogurt) but I’ll definitely need to try. I love Indian food and having a healthier version is fantastic!
    Jess recently posted..It’s National Sugar Cookie Day!My Profile

    • July 10, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      Thanks Jess!

      Hung Yogurt is any plain yogurt like Danon or Stonyfield that you sieve though a thin cloth (thin table fabric works fine). I simply put a few spoonfuls in a cloth and hang it on long handle of the kitchen faucet.

  5. July 10, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Oh, Minnie – how fabulous! My mouth was watering from the first photo. Definitely have to try this! I’m off to find the masala powders. We’re a bit limited (still!) in Sioux Falls, but I’m thinking I can purchase online, if I can’t find it locally (don’t you love the internet?). Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe!
    Stephanie @ It’s not just about the recipe . . . . recently posted..Thank you for a GREAT year!My Profile

    • July 10, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      Thanks so much Stephanie! If you don’t find the tandoori masalas, don’t fret too much. Lemon juice, ginger garlic, some garam masala and some cumin powder and hung curd will also do the trick.

  6. July 10, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    yum!! What a great low calorie substitution. I love the richness of cream, but it isn’t always practical for my waist line 😉
    Erin {Recimplicity} recently posted..Brown Rice PorridgeMy Profile

  7. July 10, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    You are right, these are absolute creamy delish of Indian royal cuisine.
    Swathi recently posted..100 % Rye Bread with SourdoughMy Profile

  8. July 11, 2012 at 5:53 AM

    This week has been insanely busy hasn’t it? I haven’t been able to breathe properly the entire time! Welcome back Minnie and you’ve come back with a lovely dish. In fact we had some delicious Indian food on the weekend and if only it was as low calorie as this! 😛
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Izakaya Den, MelbourneMy Profile

    • July 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Thanks Lorriane! Yes! The exact expression I was looking for!!! You are a girl after my heart.

  9. Cakewhiz
    July 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Hubby and i loveeee chicken tikka masala but i don’t make it often coz it’s so high in calories! I really appreciate this low calorie version ….now we can eat as much as we want without feeling guilty 😉

    • July 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM

      I agree. But they are so worth that once in a while effort.

  10. July 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Hello (again)! You and your blog are completely awesome and I’ve nominated you for the Awesome Blogger award. You can find more information at http://bit.ly/NAr2ry. Thank you for everything you do and share and congratulations!
    Stephanie @ It’s not just about the recipe . . . . recently posted..The Awesome Blogger AwardMy Profile

    • July 12, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      Wow!! Stephanie, what can I say!! You rock!!!

  11. July 12, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    This dish looks absolutely scrumptious! I have always wanted to try making this. Not sure why I’ve been dragging my feet. But your lightened up version has just given me new incentive! Looks sensational! : )
    Anne@FromMySweetHeart recently posted..Cosmopolitan Cocktail BarsMy Profile

    • July 12, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      Thanks Anne! Let me know how it turned out for you :))

  12. debajyoti
    July 13, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    I used to prepare a dish which i fondly called butter chicken. but now i have the actual recipe. will try this. although, i have become a vegetarian but i can always cook something for my guests.

    • July 13, 2012 at 7:27 AM

      Vegetarian? Bravo!! A mighty step indeed. My family has hard time keeping up with two days of the week that we have marked as vegetarian days.

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