InspirationPosted on 13.06.2014

Healthy Indian Takeaways - Chicken Tikka vs Tikka Masala

Nice – Chicken Tikka

This is tikka masala’s goody-two-shoes cousin – all the nutritional goodness, none of the drawbacks. The two dishes start off the same – chicken breast marinated in a yogurt, garlic and ginger marinade, cooked ‘dry’ in a Tandoor oven.

But where the masala version then acquires a decadent, creamy sauce, plain chicken tikka remains a healthy takeaway. Serve it with a chapati, maybe a little bit of mango chutney, a big salad, and you’ll definitely get a pat on the back from me.

But why is it so nutritious? Chicken is low-fat and high in protein. Yoghurt provides a lot of protein and calcium. Garlic is great for your heart and circulatory system, thanks to plant compounds that help make your blood less ‘sticky’. Team it with my suggestions of chapatti and salad, and you’re getting starchy carbohydrates for energy, plus a contribution towards your five a day from all those veggies. Brilliant!

Naughty – Chicken Tikka Masala

It’s orange, creamy and we love it! Chicken tikka masala accounts for one in seven curries sold in the UK.

Many people get confused between tikka and tikka masala. Think of it this way, ‘masala’ just means ‘curry’– and the curry is where the calories lie.

It’s baked spicy chicken in a vivid creamy sauce, and it’s usually served with rice. First the chicken is marinated to make it tender, and then baked – this is the chicken tikka part of the recipe. Then the chef whips up the sauce, and the chicken carries on cooking in that.

At first glance, the ingredients look pretty good for you – lean chicken breast, garlic and ginger, plus onions, tomato, and curry spices such as chilli, turmeric and cumin. But then it’s combined with a generous helping of double cream, and that’s what makes this dish so indulgent. The other half is mainly tomatoes, which are definitely health food in my book. But all that cream bumps up the fat and calorie count – taking this dish squarely into ‘naughty’ territory.