Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food. Once in a while I will get together with some girlfriends and order a huge load of it. The restaurant always thinks the amount of food we order is crazy, but somehow we end up finishing it all. Burp. Eating Indian while following Whole30 is pretty tricky. Lots of legumes, dairy and wheat to navigate. Channa Masala (curried chickpeas) is one of my faves, but definitely something to avoid during a strict clean eating program like Whole30.

During the latest of these decadent nights out (where I magically avoided the butter chicken, naan, bhatura, channa masala and MORE), I chose some Chicken Tikka Masala and Baingan Bharta (Eggplant). Deelish. The only problem was that it left me wanting more. I set out to make a paleo-friendly Chicken Tikka Masala to fill that spot in me that was still craving some butter chicken.

Chicken Tikka Masala – serves 8-ish

  • 2 lb of cut up boneless skinless chicken pieces – breasts or legs, doesn’t matter.
  • 1T cumin
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1t pepper
  • 1/2t cayenne
  • few grinds of salt
  • 3T ghee
  • 2T lemon juice

Combine all ingredients, marinate for an hour

The flavours in a curry dish can be very complex depending on the quantity and quality of spices that you use. Methods of preparation can also vary, and I’m still tweaking my perfect approach. For this one, I aimed for speed over perfect flavour.


  • 1 jar passata or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3T fresh ginger
  • 1t garam masala
  • 1/2t coriander seeds
  • 1.2t cumin seeds
  • 1/2t tumeric
  • 2t cumin
  • 2T curry paste (I use Pataks)

Have you ever used passata? It is just a tomato puree with nothing added to it. I like that it comes in glass jars. It makes a great base for recipes.

Get the onions, garlic and ginger ready with your spices

Add the sauce ingredients to a pot. I had intended on making this in a slow cooker until I realized that I didn’t have enough time. You can also soften your onion, ginger, garlic and spices in a skillet before you add the tomato.

Simmer it for 30 minutes or so until it begins to reduce

Here are some photos of my attempt at making Baingan Bharta. It wasn’t very good, so I’m not going to share my version of the recipe.

Serve with Cauliflower rice.

Enjoy the delicious Indian flavours. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro sprinkled on top. And some chutney, if you are so inclined.