This is an amazing Indian chicken tikka masala recipe — it’s restaurant quality, made from scratch, and easy to make. Low carb and keto friendly.
Making your own Indian food at home without store-bought sauces may seem daunting, but in practice it’s a lot easier than it sounds. This is especially true for chicken tikka masala, which is my absolute favorite Indian recipe. This homemade version is perfect for days when you’re craving Indian food but you don’t feel like going out to eat. The chicken is tender and flavorful, and the sauce is creamy, thick, and decadent. It’s relatively quick to whip up as well; most of the time is spent marinating the chicken and only 20 minutes is spent simmering the sauce on the stove. If chicken tikka masala is your go-to dish to order at Indian restaurants, then you should definitely try this out.
Let me provide some background on my history with chicken tikka masala. My obsession with it started about a decade ago, when I was living with a roommate who introduced me to the world of Indian food. I fell in love with chicken tikka masala and since then, I’ve ordered it every time I’ve seen it on a menu. On average, I eat chicken tikka masala a few times a week — whether it be at a restaurant, the store-bought frozen kind (anyone else equally obsessed with Trader Joe’s frozen chicken tikka masala?), or various homemade ones. I’ve experimented with more chicken tikka masala recipes than I can count, and this recipe is my favorite. It’s the perfect combination of not-too-complicated (I’ve tried to pare it down to the essentials) and super tasty (I can’t tell the difference between this recipe and the kind I’ve had in restaurants).
Since then, I’ve also adapted chicken tikka masala for other appliances:
Tikka masala sauce is simply tomato puree mixed with heavy whipping cream and spices such as garam masala. The sauce is simmered until thick and flavorful. Garam masala is a mix of dried spices including cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and others. You can pick up this dried Indian spice mix at supermarkets such as Whole Foods or purchase online at Amazon. A small amount will last you a long time and through many homemade chicken tikka masala dinners.
Note that this recipe makes a very generous amount of tikka masala sauce. Extra sauce is always appreciated for dipping with naan or pairing with rice. If you don’t anticipate needing all that extra sauce, you can certainly increase the amount of chicken so that the sauce-to-chicken ratio isn’t so high.
In the past I served chicken tikka masala with basmati rice and naan, but now that I follow a low carb diet, I replace the rice and naan with plain fried cauliflower rice, which serves as an excellent replacement.
I’m often asked whether heavy whipping cream can be substituted for something else. Personally, I prefer the texture and taste of the sauce with heavy cream, but I know that many readers have had success using less heavy cream, or substituting all or some of the heavy cream with half and half or coconut milk. It’ll result in a thinner sauce but will likely still taste quite good.
The jalapeno can be replaced with up to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, which you can adjust to taste.
Best chicken tikka masala
An Indian chicken tikka masala recipe with a fantastic sauce that you can easily make at home.
For marinating the chicken:
For the sauce:
- basmati rice or naan
- cilantro or parsley
- Marinating the chicken: Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add chicken chunks and coat with the marinade. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Sautéing the chicken: Add chicken chunks along with the marinade to a 3-quart pan over medium-high heat and sauté until the chicken is mostly cooked, about 5 minutes.
- Simmering the sauce: Reduce to medium heat. Add butter, jalapeño, and garlic to the same pan. Cook until the garlic browns, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, heavy whipping cream, garam masala, paprika, and salt. Mix well. Bring to a boil and then decrease heat to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serving: Serve with basmati rice or naan. Garnish with cilantro or parsley.
This recipe yields 13 g net carbs per serving. Nutrition information does not include rice or naan.
|Nutrition Facts Per Serving|
|Total Fat 53g||82%|
|Saturated Fat 35g||173%|
|Trans Fat 0g|
|Total Carb 19.5g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 6.5g||27%|
This post was originally published on September 12, 2016.
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