InspirationPosted on 04.03.2014

Healthy Indian Takeaway – Lamb Tikka Masala vs. Tandoori Chicken

This week, it’s some saucy Indian action.

A creamy Lamb Tikka Masala vs. a healthy Tandoori Chicken. What’s your favourite?

Naughty – Lamb Tikka Masala

This is a dish that confuses a lot of people, who get it mixed up with lamb tikka – totally different.

Lamb tikka is chunks of lamb, marinated in a spicy yogurt mix, then cooked ‘dry’ in a tandoor oven. It doesn’t involve any oil, and it’s a pretty healthy dish.

While lamb is higher in fat than chicken, but it’s also better for iron and zinc. So long as you don’t eat too much, too often, that’s a pretty good trade.

But that’s not what we’re after! We’re looking at the luscious lamb tikka masala instead.

Lamb tikka masala is lamb tikka served in a rich and creamy masala sauce. It’s the masala sauce making it that much naughtier. To make the sauce, you first fry some onions and garlic in plenty of oil, which definitely bumps up the fat.

More spices – such as chilli, ginger and garam masala – are added and fried until they turn fragrant. Plus plenty of tinned tomatoes go in, forming the body of the sauce – and there’s nothing wrong with spices and tomatoes, in fact they’re full of good stuff. But once you’ve added the double cream, you’re bumping up the calories – moving this delicious dish squarely into treat territory.

Nice – Tandoori Chicken

Similar to chicken tikka, tandoori chicken is another of those low-fat ‘dry’ dishes, and one I go for whenever I’m grabbing Indian!

Like lamb tikka, it’s first marinated in yoghurt flavoured with a blend of spices usually containing garlic, ginger, chilli and garam masala. As well as  flavouring the meat, the yogurt marinade also helps to tenderise it. Which is why it’s so soft and juicy.

Then the meat is roasted in a tandoor oven, with the yogurt coating helping to keep it moist during this ‘dry’ cooking method, and of course keeps the amount of oil down.

Chicken is good for protein, needed to build and replace your body’s cells, and because it’s a low-fat protein source, it fills you up without providing too many calories from fat. It also provides useful amounts of iron, zinc and vitamin A (though not as much as red meat).  The healthy properties of Indian spices will do you plenty of good, too.

All in all, this is a seriously healthy dish. Just don’t undo all your good work by ordering a buttery naan or some fried pilau rice. If you want healthy rice – make it plain. Then go with a large mixed salad, pickles and some yogurt raita. Delicious.