Tikka Masala
Main Dish

Healthy(er) and Quick Tikka Masala

Creamy, buttery, richness filled with spices, tanginess and comfort? Um, yes PLEASE. And healthier? WHAT?


I mean, who doesn’t? You would have to be a monster not to enjoy this creamy tomato stew sent from heaven…. 

But, I will confess 2 things: 1) it’s usually really hard to make, and 2) mine usually sucks.

I’ve made it countless times, trying every recipe I’ve come across – but it’s never been super EASY to make.  I mean at its longest, I’ve probably done the whole all day, every spice you can imagine version. 

And, no matter how many hours I spend, it never tastes restaurant quality. 

This one however, is pretty darn tasty. 

AND, it’s fast but that doesn’t mean it’s not flavorful.

I have given up on the idea that mine will ever rival what you can get from authentic Indian restaurants, but as a healther, quick alternative, this recipe is great.

The big difference is that instead of using heavy cream I switched that out for coconut milk. I use the watery part to basically mix up the first ingredients, then I use the thicker cream that usually forms at the top in place of the heavy cream. I prefer to use coconut milks that are mild in taste and flavor, so it isn’t overwhelmingly coconutty. 

For the purists out there I will warn you, this does change the flavor some. If you don’t like the taste of coconut you might not like this.

But if you’re willing to try something different I hope you like it as much as I do!

I am a vegatarian and my husband is not, so I modified this version to have half chicken and half tofu. 

I usually put it over rice and I always have the Seeds of Change packets around for just such an occasion. 

We also always have some frozen Naan that heats up real well in the toaster oven. 


Here are some images of the ingredients and how it looks going through the process:

tikka masala garlic shallots ginger

Garlic, shallot, ginger mixture (prior to adding coconut water from coconut milk)

tikka masala ingredients

Most of the ingredients you will use besides the mixture, tomato paste, and chicken.

blended paste tikka

Here is the mixture blended up and brought to a thick paste consistency.

tikka masala

Adding the chicken back into the stew.

healthy tikka masala

Another angle of the chicken bathing in that delicious gravy.

healthy tikka masala

Time to eat – GOTTA GO 😀 !!!!


healthy tikka masala

Healthy Tikka Masala

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This is a lighter, modified version of tikka masala, using coconut milk instead of heavy cream. It doesn't taste exactly like the one you'll get a restaurant but it is full of flavor and yumminess nonetheless.

Adapted from: ThisHealthyTable


  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (use the cream part at the top)
  • optional for topping - chopped fresh cilantro


1. Blend the shallots, ginger, and garlic with the 1/2 cup of coconut milk (I use the water portion in the can) until it forms a paste. Set aside.

2. Coat the cut up chicken (or tofu if you are vegetarian) with 2 tsp garam masala, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp oil. Mix thoroughly.

3. Put 1 tsp oil in a heavy pan, and turn up to med-high heat until the oil gets shiny. Drop the chicken in and cook, turning until it gets browned on all sides - about 5 minutes.

4. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the paste you created in step 1 to the remaining oil in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes while stirring.

5. Lower heat to a simmer and add the turmeric, black pepper, cayenne, and remaining garam masala. Cook for 1 minute, stirring vigrorously so the spices don't burn.

6. Add the tomato paste and the canned tomatoes. Let this cook for about 10 minutes.

7. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until creamy and smooth.

8. Add the chicken back to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes.

9. Use the top of the coconut milk can to add 1/2 cup of the thick coconut cream to the mixture.

10. Add additional salt if needed.

11. Top with cilantro for serving (optional).


I use this over rice and serve with Naan. To make it easy, I get store bought Naan and the packets of quinoa rice from the Seeds of Change.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 406Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 96mgSodium 1742mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 38g

This nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although alteredrecipe.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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