I really, really wanted to call this Chicken Quick-a Masala, but I figured that the tiny smidgen of credibility I’ve garnered in my food-writing career thus far would probably be revoked if I employed such a cheesy pun.

That said, it’s amazing how quickly this deeply flavorful and rich Indian take-out staple comes together. I like to keep it a bit lighter than traditional tikka masala, so I use non-fat Greek yogurt, as opposed to whole-milk, as well as half-and-half instead of heavy cream. I also throw in some fresh spinach to increase the fiber content. If you prefer your tikka masala creamier and veg-free, feel free to use whole-milk yogurt and cream and skip the spinach.

Serves 3-4


1 cup low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cardamom

2 tbsp honey

salt and pepper

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

4 tsp curry powder

1 cup half-and-half

1 6-oz. can tomato paste

2 tsp (or more/less to taste) Sriracha or other smooth Asian chile sauce

2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

chicken tikka masala


Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, cardamom and honey in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cut-up chicken and mix well to ensure all chicken is well-coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or as long as overnight).

Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until translucent. Add the curry powder and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until very fragrant.

Add the half-and-half and stir well to make a creamy yellowish sauce.

Stir in the tomato paste and stir well.

Use a rubber scraper to scrape the chicken and all of its marinade into the half-and-half mixture. Stir well and cook until the mixture comes to a light simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked (but still tender). Just before serving, stir in Asian chile sauce and spinach.

Serve over rice or with naan.

BrokeAss Gourmet caters to folks who want to live the high life on the cheap, with delicious recipes that are always under $20. Gabi Moskowitz is the blog’s editor in chief and author of The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook and Pizza Dough: 100 Delicious Unexpected Recipes.

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