We have an Indian restaurant near us that we like to go to. It’s a fairly unassuming place in a strip mall, in fact it was there for several years before we even tried it out. But once we finally tried India Palace, we were totally sold. Once you step inside, you don’t feel like you’re in a strip mall at all. The tables are covered in white linen and the service is always excellent. Then there’s the food, which is also excellent. It’s made from scratch and always delicious.
So you may be wondering why I’m making my own Indian dish when there is a great Indian restaurant within walking distance of my house. The problem is, as delicious as the food is, I know it’s really rich and not something that we should eat too often. But still, I love the flavors and would like to eat it more often. I set out to come up with my own version that was lighter so that I could eat it whenever I wanted.
I decided to try and (loosely) replicate chicken tikka masala. It is a dish that has chicken breast, onion, red bell pepper, garlic and is in a rich yogurt and fresh tomato sauce with a wonderful combination of spices. To keep it lighter I used fat free Greek yogurt and olive oil, instead of butter. I also kept the sodium pretty low. I have to say, what I came up with is pretty darn good. It may not be exactly the same, but it definitely has the same general flavors. Let’s just say everyone cleaned their plates! It’s also pretty easy to make. It takes a bit of time to marinade and then simmer, but the hands on time is very minimal.
Chicken Tikka Masala
- 1 cup fat free greek yogurt
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb chicken breast, cut into chunks
- 1 onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 large roma tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- hot cooked rice (I used brown)
In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, curry powder, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin and black pepper. Once well combined, add chicken and stir to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, chop onion, red pepper and tomatoes into large chunks. Finely mince garlic.
Heat oil in a dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper, saute for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Sprinkle with a little salt. Add garlic and saute for 1 more minute.
Add tomatoes and saute for about another 5 minutes, until tomatoes start to break down.
Stir in chicken and all of the marinade. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours (I simmered for 2 hours), stirring occasionally. Taste and add a little more salt, if necessary.
Serve over hot cooked rice.
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