Make this chicken tikka masala and serve with our pilau rice or naan bread. Also check our our chicken tikka burritos, healthy chicken korma, healthy chicken curry, healthy slow cooker chicken curry and more chicken curry recipes. For another idea with this spice mix, try our sizzling chicken tikka skewers.

This healthier chicken tikka masala recipe is adapted from The Curry Guy Light by Dan Toombs (£15, Quadrille). Buy it here.


  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp garlic and ginger paste, (see cook's notes below)
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour, (see cook's notes below)
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 5 tbsp tomato purée
  • 350ml (see below) low-calorie base curry sauce, heated
  • 1½ tbsp (see below) tandoori masala
  • 200g chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp (optional) caster sugar
  • 80ml fat-free natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp (optional) red food colouring powder
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • finely chopped to make 2 tbsp coriander, plus leaves to serve
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), (see cook's notes below)
  • ½ tsp garam masala


  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1kg onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 litre water, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100g carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 60g cabbage, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • ½ green pepper, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 5cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • 200g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ tbsp garam masala
  • 1½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tbsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground fenugreek
  • ½ tbsp ground turmeric


  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • ½ a small piece mace
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder), (see cook's notes below)
  • ½ tsp (optional) red food colouring powder, (see cook's notes below)


  • STEP 1

    Start by making the low-calorie base curry sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions for 5 minutes or until soft and fragrant, stirring well until evenly coated in the oil. Add all the ingredients up to and including the chopped tomatoes. Cover and simmer over a medium heat for 1 hour, stirring regularly. The vegetables will become soft and the stock should reduce by about half but this can vary. Add the spices and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Using a stick blender or worktop blender, blend until very smooth. Add in enough water to make the consistency of single cream. This will make more than you’ll need, and will keep in the fridge for three days – or portion and freeze for up to six months.

  • STEP 2

    To make the tandoori masala, heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, cinnamon and mace. Toast, moving the spices around, until they are fragrant and warm to the touch, but not smoking.

  • STEP 3

    Cool slightly, then, using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, grind to a fine powder. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. This spice blend will keep for up to two months in an airtight container.

  • STEP 4

    Heat the rapeseed or coconut oil in a balti pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and ginger paste, and sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the ground almonds and coconut flour, and fry for a further 20 seconds while stirring constantly. The pan will look quite dry as the almonds and coconut flour soak up the oil. Stir in the remaining spices, then add the tomato purée and the required amount of base sauce and tandoori masala.

  • STEP 5

    Increase the heat to high and allow the sauce to come to a rolling simmer. Stir in the chicken and simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Reduce the heat to medium-high and stir in the sugar (if using). Now add the yogurt, 1 tbsp at a time. If using food colouring, stir it in now, then squeeze in the lemon juice and add the coriander. To finish, add the dried fenugreek leaves, rubbing the leaves between your fingers to help bring the flavour out. Top with the garam masala, season and garnish with coriander.

*This recipe is gluten free according to industry standards

Cook's notes

  • Garlic and ginger paste can be bought ready-combined in jars in large supermarkets – or you can make your own by blending equal amounts of garlic and ginger to a purée.
  • The following ingredients can be found online and in Asian supermarkets: coconut flour is coconut that has been fried and milled; kasoori methi (or dried fenugreek leaves); amchoor, or dried mango powder, is used as a citrussy seasoning; dried kashmiri chillies and kashmiri chilli powder have a mild heat that gives food a vivid red colour; red food colouring is commonly used in chicken tikka masala to give it a vibrant red colour; coconut vinegar is made from the sap of coconut tree flowers.

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