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Tender pieces of marinated chicken drizzled with a creamy mint sauce loaded with cooling cucumber and nutritious avocado makes for a dish that’s packed full of flavour AND healthy goodness.
I’m all about food that packs a punch when it comes to flavour, and this chicken certainly does that. It’s a dish that’s inspired by an Indian restaurant in Balham called Chatkhara.
I discovered Chatkhara when I was visiting a friend in Clapham. The day began in central London, where I went to watch my Ma and Pa run the 2018 London Marathon. It was so hot that day, and long story short, I only went and passed out! No lie. I ended up in the first aid tent for hours. What’s worse, I completely missed Mum and Dad run by. I was so annoyed and so embarrassed. All these amazing people had been running for hours in the baking heat, and then there’s me, literally watching from the sidelines and fainting. Mortifying!
Anyways, we ended up back at a friend’s house nearby so that I could recover and he ordered me a chicken tikka naan wrap drizzled in the most fantastic mint sauce. Such a good friend! It made me feel so much better, and the flavours were so good that I knew I had to figure out how to make it. Well, a similar version anyway.
WHERE DOES CHICKEN TIKKA COME FROM?
Chicken tikka is a dish that originates in the Indian Subcontinent, popular in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The word tikka comes from Hindi and Urdu and means ‘bits’ or ‘pieces’. Those chicken pieces are usually left to marinate in Indian spices with yoghurt and then cooked on a grill over coals, all the while being brushed with ghee (Source). Drooling yet?
One of the things I love about Indian cuisine is just how good it can be for you without any sacrifice on flavour. Many of my favourite Indian dishes can easily be made using only whole food ingredients. The spice blends provide so many options for experimentation, and as such, I’m discovering brand new flavours all the time.
CHICKEN TIKKA USING TIKKA POWDER
One of the things I fully appreciate trying to stay on track with eating a real food diet is that it can be very time-consuming. Always having to look for whole food ingredients and making sure that when you do pick up packaged foods, you read the label to make sure they don’t contain any nasties. It takes time, not just to cook from scratch but to plan ahead, so you have everything you need to be able to cook from scratch all week long.
That’s why I love this meal. It’s so easy to prepare but feels like a truly indulgent meal. You could even get away with calling it a fakeaway, I reckon. And, that’s all down to some simple cheats. Like the ready-made spice mix, I’m using in this recipe.
Yes, you do need to check the label. It’s important to buy a natural spice mix that does not contain any unnecessary ingredients, like this Organic Tikka Masala Curry Power by Steenbergs. All the ingredients are natural – there’s no sugar, salt or additives. But, you can use whatever natural tikka spice mix you can find near you.
WHY IS CHICKEN TIKKA BRIGHT RED?
When you are presented with a Chicken Tikka that is bright red, a red food colouring has likely been added. Like this example ingredient, I saw on a label today “TikkaColour (E110 Sunset Yellow – E110 May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children)”. I mean… WHAT!
When food manufacturers can add a little paprika, OR smoked paprika, OR mild chilli powder into their spice blends to achieve a natural redness, instead of using a colouring (or additive) that has “an adverse effect” on children, that’s just crazy to me! It really does prove how vital it is to read labels.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN TIKKA – SUMMARY
HOW TO MAKE MINT SAUCE – SUMMARY
IS CHICKEN TIKKA HEALTHY?
Yes, this chicken tikka recipe is healthy. It uses natural, whole food ingredients including:
- Steenbergs Tikka Masala Curry Powder (Paprika, fenugreek, cumin, coriander, black pepper, turmeric, ginger spice powder, cinnamon powder, caraway seeds powder, chilli powder, green cardamom powder, fennel seeds, spearmint, ground cloves)
- Garlic Granules
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Greek Yoghurt
- Coriander Leaf
The Mint Sauce is made with:
- Greek Yoghurt
*All that flavour packed into one jar of tikka spice mix saves you from having to buy lots of individual spice jars. Unless you have all these spices in your pantry already, you could end up saving some serious dosh here. Not to mention it’s a real time saver!
I’d love to know how your Chicken Tikka turns out. Please get in touch in the comments and let me know. I hope it soon becomes a Friday night Fakeaway option for you too!
FULL RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
Easy Chicken Tikka with Mint Sauce
- Measuring equipment, kitchen tongs, sharp knife
- Grill pan or frying pan
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Tikka Spice Mix
- 1 tbsp Thick Greek Yoghurt
- 1 tsp Garlic Granules
- 1 tsp Dried Coriander Leaf
- ½ tsp Chilli (Chili) Flakes Omit if you don't want heat!
- ½ tsp Salt
- 500 g (1 lb) Chicken Mini Fillets (Tenders) You can also use breasts cut into large strips
- ½ Lemon Juice of
- 100 g (⅔ Cup) English Cucumber Seeds removed or the sauce will be too watery, or 2 baby cucumbers
- 10 g (⅓ Cup) Fresh Mint Leaves Remove and discard stalks
- ½ Avocado
- 1 tsp Honey
- ½ Lemon Juice of
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 100 g (⅓ Cup) Thick (Strained) Greek Yoghurt
- Wholegrain Naan
- Cauilflower Rice or Wholegrain Rice
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the olive oil, tikka spice mix, greek yoghurt, garlic granules, coriander leaf, chilli flakes and salt and stir to combine. Add the chicken and coat with the marinade. Leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes (or overnight and up to a maximum of 24 hours).
- Meanwhile, make the mint sauce. Add the cucumber, avocado, mint leaves, honey, lemon juice, and salt to a food processor and blend until smooth. Now add the yoghurt and pulse a couple of times to combine. Tip: Adding the yoghurt to the initial blend, makes the sauce too runny.
- After the chicken has been sitting in the marinade for at least 10 minutes, set your grill pan or frying pan to medium-high heat. Pop the chicken pieces on the grill and cook for 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. You are looking for crispy, charred goodness. Just before removing the chicken from the grill, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the chicken.
- Serve the chicken topped with the mint sauce. I love this chicken served over a bed of cauliflower rice and naan. Enjoy!
If you get the chance to give this Chicken Tikka a try, drop me a note in the comment section and provide a star rating. I’d love to know what you think!
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Thank you so much for reading.