Sunday, January 8, 2012

Low Fat Homemade Chicken Tikka Balti

Curries get a bad rep, especially Indian curries which have long be viewed as meals full of  fattening ingredients such as cream, yogurt, oil and ghee (buckets of butter). But take all those ingredients out of the equation and you have meals that are loaded with immune boosting, healing spices which have umpteen health benefits.

If like myself you have come down with a post holiday flu, there is nothing better than a chicken curry loaded with garlic, ginger, chilli and spices to clear the head and help recovery along the way.

Ever the health conscious, I daren't dream of ordering out for a curry from our local Indian Takeaway. I should keep my New Years Resolution for a week at least!! I'm also for the most part not a fan of sauces from a jar, as they tend to be very high in salt and fat content. When you are making the curry yourself, you are in control of the fat, salt and heat of the dish.

I'd never made an Indian style curry before from scratch, siding with Thai and Indonesian previously. But after making this curry and realising how low fat it is and how tasty it can be, I've certainly changed my mind.

Having researched balti sauce recipes a little, I came to realise that every single recipe is different. Just as well as I just used what I had in my store cupboard and I must say it worked a treat. I baked the chicken marinated in a tikka spice blend and yogurt and lemon, and then added to the balti sauce. The flavour was unbelievable and the chicken was extremely succulent. You could even just have chickn tikka without the balti for a lower fat version.

So I urge you to put that phone down, step away from the take-away menu and take the time to try this low fat curry, you won't be disappointed.  Serve this without all the normal accompaniments, such as naan bread and riata and your waist line will thank me too.

Serves 4


Baked Chicken Tikka

  • 4 Chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 tbsp of tikka spice blend
  • 1 125g carton of fat free natural yogurt
  • Juice of a lemon

Balti Paste

  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of coriander seeds
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 peeled thumb size piece of ginger
  • 1/2 green chilli, deseeded and diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 2 tbsp of chopped fresh coriander

Balti Sauce

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 6-7 mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of caster sugar
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 3 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 can of reduced fat coconut milk
  • 40g of ground almonds
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
To serve - basmalti rice


  1. Combine the tikka spice blend and the yogurt and the lemon juice and marinate the chicken (preferably overnight, but minimum an hour)
  2. Preheat oven to 190 degrees 
  3. Put the chicken on foil lined tray and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, turning once half way through.
  4. To make the curry paste, first toast the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant in a dry pan, then grind them together with a pestle and mortar.
  5. In a food processor, add the remaining paste ingredients along with the ground cumin and coriander and blitz until smooth.
  6. Get a wok on a moderate heat and fry off the curry paste. Add the mushrooms, carrot and onion and saute for a couple of minutes.
  7. Pour in half a can of light coconut milk and half a can of chopped tomatoes laong with the quarters of fresh tomatoes.
  8. Sprinkle in the caster sugar and ground almonds and stir.
  9. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  10. Add the frozen peas and the chicken tikka and stir through the sauce. Add all the ingredients to mingle in the heat for 3-4 minutes.
  11. Scatter the curry with fresh coriander and serve with rice.

This curry is by no means a classic recipe, its simply a low fat tasty curry I made with what I had available to me. As I said above there are endless recipes for Tikka Balti, and this just happens to be one I love myself, thats low fat, fresh and, if I say so myself....well tasty!!!!

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