I was introduced to Chicken Tikka Masala by my neighbor of Indian heritage about a year ago. She gave me a sampling and the recipe when I inquired about the fantastic smell coming from next door. I am happy to finally share this recipe on the website.
This one-pot Low Sodium Chicken Tikka Masala is an easy recipe for what will become one of your favorite Indian dishes at home. I modified this recipe to include ingredients that you can normally find in your pantry or commonly carried in the grocery store. Of course, using ingredients to make it into a low sodium chicken recipe.
Yogurt marinated chicken is char-grilled for an aromatic golden chicken bite and swathed in a wonderful curry sauce. My Low Sodium Chicken Tikka Masala recipe is one of my best! You can serve this mouthwatering chicken and sauce as traditionally done over rice or with my Low Sodium Naan Bread.
Sodium in Chicken Tikka Masala
Many recipes I compared for this dish boasted 1000 – 1600mg of sodium per serving. Way over and above my meal and even my daily sodium count goals. Unfortunately, even my neighbor’s original recipe was high up in the comparisons.
|Typical sodium amount per serving||1000+mg|
|Sodium per serving for this recipe||144mg|
|Calories per serving||448|
With a few simple changes following this recipe, you can make this delicious Low Sodium Chicken Tikka Masala with just 144mg sodium per serving. You can even have extra if you’re really hungry. This dish makes 6 servings.
What is the difference between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala?
This dish may seem somewhat similar to my Low Sodium Butter Chicken – Instant Pot recipe in texture and appearance. However, chicken tikka masala has more of a kick to it and other flavor nuances.
This Loso version of chicken tikka masala has more spices and a tomato flavored “gravy” with onion and garlic and is less creamy than Indian butter chicken. Also, tikka masala is traditionally made with skewered chicken pieces and grilled for a real char-grilled taste. Here we are recreating the char-grilled flavor of the chicken in our skillet and also deglazing those charred bits into the sauce for an intense flavor.
Chicken – I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts which will become perfectly moist, tender and flavorful after marinating and cooking. (See sodium in chicken below.)
Vegetables – Sautéed onions and garlic always have a great aromatic smell and taste, and peas are an easy and tasty compliment to the dish.
No salt added Tomato Sauce – Adds an abundance of tomato flavor to the “gravy” with little work and low sodium.
Unsweetened Coconut Milk – Coconut milk adds sweetness to the curry that balances the spice creating a smooth richness.
Greek Yogurt – Is used for the marinade to tenderize the chicken and hold the spices close to soak in. Save any leftover marinade as it will all be used in the final dish to make it even creamier.
Spices – The secret to the deeply flavored tikka curry sauce! See what I used below.
Sodium in chicken breast
Most of the sodium in this recipe actually comes from the chicken itself. Un-enhanced raw boneless, skinless chicken breast should only contain between 50 to 75mg of sodium per 4-ounce serving.
Much of the chicken in U.S. grocery stores is “enhanced” with a salt brine solution during processing. Enhanced chicken can have sodium levels often well over 400mg sodium per serving. You definitely need to check all labels for sodium levels whether fresh or frozen, and between different brands.
My own curry powder version for Low Sodium Chicken Tikka Masala
I have tried using a couple of different name brand curry spices before and they have left an unsettled feeling in my stomach. Also, since I don’t use a dedicated curry that often, I now make my own curry blend for each recipe.
This recipe uses the basics of store bought curry but leaves my stomach in a much better state. I can’t explain what the difference is but it is what it is I suppose.
That’s why I came up with and use my own easy homemade curry powder version. You can easily make my basic version made from spices that you probably already have (or should) in your spice collection.
Red chili powder
Garam masala spice
Ginger or All-spice
How do you make chicken tikka masala?
Authentic Chicken Tikka Masala is usually made with yogurt marinated chicken, skewered and chargrilled for incredible grilled flavor. I made this recipe much easier for us to make at home at any time by using a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven to cook it all in, while still keeping those amazing flavors.
Butterfly each chicken breast in half. Cut each butterfly fillet into strips, then cut strips into bite-size pieces.
In a Tupperware bowl with a lid, combine and mix the chicken marinade ingredients and then add chicken to coat. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours or marinate overnight if time allows.
Add oil to a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When hot and sizzling, add chicken pieces in three of four batches making sure the chicken is not crowded in the pan. Cook until nicely charred about 3 minutes on each side and the yogurt coating gets char-grilled. (Chicken will finish any remaining cooking simmering in the sauce.)
Melt the butter in the same pan or pot. Sauté the onions until soft (about 3 minutes). Add a touch of water to scrape up (deglaze) any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. (Use a wooden spatula if using ceramic or non-stick pan!)
Add pre-minced garlic and ginger (or all-spice substitution) to onions and sauté for 1 minute, then add garam masala, ground cumin, turmeric and coriander. Sauté and stir for about 30 seconds until aromatic spiciness abounds.
Turn down heat to medium-low and pour in the no salt added tomato sauce, smoked paprika and chili powder. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. The sauce will thicken and will become a wonderful deep brown and reddish color.
Stir the coconut milk and brown sugar slowly throughout the sauce. Add optional no salt added can of peas if desired. Add the chicken and any juices back into the sauce and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until the sauce is thick and bubbling. You can add a touch of water if it seems too thick.
Should I cook the recipe in a pot or skillet?
I have made this using both my cast iron skillet and an enameled cast iron Dutch oven pot. Both work, but I prefer the cast iron skillet as it seems better able to give that char-grill exterior to the chicken I am looking for.
The enameled pot lightly browned the chicken more than a real char-grilled exterior but it does give you more spatter-free stirring room for the final dish.
What to serve with Low Sodium Chicken Tikka Masala
Rice seems to be always the go-to base for the tikka masala to be served over. You will have plenty of time to get some brown rice cooking when making this recipe. But white rice is always another quicker option if that is what you prefer.
Also, try some of my Low Sodium Naan Flatbread with this dish! It is excellent either as a side or with the tikka masala dished right on top in place of the rice.
For some great vegetable ideas that pair with this wonderful sauce and would be delicious as a side, try some roasted asparagus, cauliflower or even zucchini. A baked potato in place of the rice would be a good choice too!
I have also experimented by adding a few spoonfuls to an omelet before. It surely was a different taste but pretty darn good.
How to store and reheat Tikka Masala
Store chicken tikka masala separate from any rice or sides in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If freezing, place cooled leftovers in an airtight storage container and place in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating as described below.
Reheating: Quickest and best way to reheat a serving size is in the microwave for two minutes. Use a microwave cover to keep down splatters and keep in moisture.
If reheating rice, sprinkle light droplets of water on the rice and heat covered for 30-45 seconds, then spoon the Low Sodium Chicken Tikki Masala on top and heat covered for another two minutes.
A few of my other great chicken dishes to enjoy!
Recommended Equipment & Ingredients For This Recipe.
See my whole Recommended Equipment & Ingredients shop page here
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Please let me know how this Low Sodium Chicken Tikka Masala turns out for you in the comments and a rating! I’m always eager for your feedback and hope my recipes turn out amazing for you. You can follow me on Facebook and Pinterest also, to hear about new recipes.
Low Sodium Chicken Tikka Masala
For the chicken and marinade:
- 3 boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces check that it is not salt brined.
- 1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pre-minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger or all-spice
- 2 teaspoons garam masala spice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground red chili powder
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter no salt added
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pre-minced garlic
- 2 teaspoon ginger or all-spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce no salt added
- 1 teaspoon ground red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 15 oz. canned peas no salt added, optional
- 1/2 cup water to thin sauce if needed
- Butterfly each chicken breast in half. Cut each butterfly fillet in strips and cut strips into bite-size pieces.
- In a bowl, (preferably a Tupperware bowl with lid) combine and mix the chicken marinade ingredients and then mix in the chicken to coat. Cover and marinate in fridge for at least 1-2 hours or best to marinate overnight if time allows. Save any left over marinade.
- Add oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When hot and sizzling, add chicken pieces in three of four batches, making sure the chicken is not crowded in the pan. Cook until nicely char-grilled about 3 minutes on each side (Chicken will finish any remaining cooking in the sauce.)
- Melt the butter in the same pan or pot. Sauté the onions until soft (about 3 minutes). Scrape up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. (Use a wooden spatula if using ceramic or non-stick pan!)
- Add garlic and ginger (or all spice) and sauté for 1 minute, then add garam masala, cumin, turmeric and coriander. Sauté for about 20 seconds until fragrant, while stirring.
- Pour in the no salt added tomato sauce, smoked paprika and chili powder. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stir occasionally. Sauce will thicken and will become a deep brown reddish color.
- Slowly stir the coconut milk and brown sugar throughout the sauce. Add optional canned peas if desired. Add the chicken, any juices and left over marinade back into the sauce and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes and the sauce is thick and bubbling.
- Pour in a bit of water to thin the sauce, if needed.
Nutrition Information – The information shown is provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be substituted for a doctors or nutritionist’s advice. Please understand that not everyone’s sodium requirements are the same, therefore some recipes may be higher than you’re allowed. Always consult with your doctor for your recommended daily sodium allowance.