Chicken Tikka Masala | Whole30 & Paleo

Cayenne, turmeric & curry can often be found in Indian dishes & are incredibly beneficial for a typical American diet. One of the most ordered Indian dishes in the United States is Chicken Tikka Masala. I found a place in Ohio that served what I thought was the best. Then I moved to Oklahoma & couldn't find a place that made it anywhere near as delicious as this place in Ohio. So I spent months making this dish on my own and studying Indian food in my home. I came up with a fantastic recipe that's become a family favorite. It's friggin' good. Not to toot my own horn. When I did my Whole30 I found it was pretty simple to make this recipe compliant & even my man approved! 

Fun fact: If you like it spicy, you better have that hood fan on or you'll pepper yourself out of the house.


Chicken & Marinade

2 cubed chicken breasts

1/2 the cream from a full fat can of coconut milk (save the rest for the masala sauce)

1 Tablespoon lemon or lime juice

2 teaspoons cumin

1-2 teaspoons cayenne (depending on spice preferences)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Tikka Masala Sauce

2 Tablespoons ghee

2 cloves of garlic

1 jalapeno (if you like it hot, if not - omit this)

1-4 teaspoons cayenne (depending on spice preferences)

4 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons garam masala (you can buy it, or you can make it)

1 teaspoon salt

1 8 oz can of tomato sauce

1 can of full fat coconut milk (minus the cream you used above for the chicken marinade)





  1. In skillet on medium-low heat, combine all ingredients for your marinade (except the chicken). When you open your can of coconut milk you'll either be staring at liquid or solid. If it's solid, slowly slip a spoon into the can and take half of the cream & none of the liquid. If it's liquid, pour it out and put it aside until you make your masala sauce, then scoop out half the cream.
  2. Stir until combined & cream is melted, then pour the marinade over the cubed chicken in a bag. Close the bag and massage the marinade into the chicken. Throw it in the fridge. The longer you let it sit the better, but if you have only 15 minutes, then so be it.
  3. In a food processor (a mini processor is perfect for this task) combine the jalapeno, garlic & cayenne. Set this aside.
  4. Combine your spices for the masala sauce & set them aside as well.
  5. Heat the ghee on medium heat in the skillet, when melted add the jalapeno, garlic & cayenne concoction you sat aside. Flatten it out and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  6. After 2 minutes, add your spices and mix them in. Add a dash of olive oil if it looks too dry (it will be semi-dry). Allow this to cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the tomato sauce next, simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  8. If you'd like to make cauliflower rice, now is the time to begin cooking it in a separate skillet. I just buy riced cauliflower and toss it in a skillet with a little olive oil & a lid for 10 minutes on medium. Don't stir too much, let the bottom get a tad brown.
  9. Now is also the time to take your chicken & put it in a non-stick skillet (I use a seasoned cast iron skillet) on high heat. Brown the chicken on one side & then flip it. Full cook time is between 10 & 15 minutes depending on how small you cubed your chicken.
  10. Add the rest of your full fat coconut milk to the masala pan & stir until it's heated.

I like to put my rice in the bottom of a bowl, put chicken on top of it & then pour sauce on top of that! Dustin likes to keep his rice separate from his chicken and sauce. The most important thing is that you enjoy!

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