Chicken Tikka Masala

Curries are one of those foods we all love in winter.  Indian, Thai or Malaysian, they all have their own unique touch but they all have one thing in common –  they have the potential to be calorific due to hidden calories in the form of fat or sugar.  Heavy Indian curries will often have added fats in the form of butter, nut pastes and coconut creams (these fats are saturated and should be limited in your diet) and they are also often low in vegetables.  Malaysian and Thai curries in contrast are often high in sugar and salt but do usually contain some vegetables.

Below is a very simple yet full flavoured chicken tikka masala.  There actually isn’t a paste in this curry and the sauce is made by combining low fat yoghurt with spices.  This curry is much healthier than any takeaway option and you can make it in the time it takes you to purchase a take away curry.  The other advantage of making your own curry is that you can add more vegetables to the dish.  Add what ever you want or have left over in your fridge crisper.  This will help reduce your serving sizes of meat in the dish and increase the amount of serves you receive per meal, hence decreasing the calorie and fat content per serve.  Finally, curries store really well and if you have any leftovers they make a great lunch at work the next day!

Ingredients:  (Serves 4)

  • 2/3 Cup thick low fat Greek yoghurt, plus extra, to serve
  • 4 Garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 Teaspoons garam masala, plus 2 teaspoons extra
  • 8 Chicken tenderoins, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Red onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 Red capsicum, sliced thinly
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 Teaspoons curry powder
  • Large handful baby spinach
  • 1 Cup butternut pumpkin, diced
  • 2 Cups cooked brown rice, to serve


  1. In a large bowl, stir together yoghurt, garlic, ginger and 2 teaspoons of garam masala. Stir chicken into yoghurt mixture, cover with cling film and marinade in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add the canola oil, then onion, pumpkin and capsicum, stir for 3-5 minutes or until onion starts to become golden brown. Add extra garam masala, tomato paste, curry powder and salt. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring, before adding the chicken and yoghurt mixture.
  3. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring often, or until yoghurt has started to brown and chicken has just cooked through. Add baby spinach and stir through until wilted. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve Chicken Tikka Masala on brown rice with another spoon of yoghurt if desired.

Per serve (including 1/2 cup of rice) – Energy:1588kj  (380cal); Protein:34.5g; Sodium:145mg; Fat:8.3g; Sat Fat:1.6g; Carbohydrate: 38.8g; Sugar:8.1g; Fibre: 3.8g

-Themis Chryssidis

(Themis is an Accredited Practising Dietitian at Life Personal Trainers Hutt St Studio and Director of Sprout Cooking)

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