Allergy Friendly Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food. Love it. I can’t get enough of it, but I’ve had enough of it. Almost every Indian dish out there contains traces of pistachios (cashews or almonds), cardamom, and dairy. Escaping these ingredients is impossible, along with an allergic reaction. Therefore, when it comes to date nights, if we’re craving Indian food, the Hubster and I have to eat in. One of my favorite dishes, aside from anything cooked in the tandoor oven, is tikka masala. I love the slow burn that pleasantly builds up on the tongue, without setting my mouth on fire, the smokiness of the spices, the creaminess of the sauce. Tikka Masala contains all of the above ingredients: nuts, yogurt, and cardamom, all of which I can’t have (except coconut). What’s a Dorky Missus to do? Why, make it allergy friendly!

The only thing that I couldn’t eliminate altogether was nuts, and by nuts, I mean coconut. It is considered a tree-nut by the FDA, and some people do have allergies to it. However, I don’t.

This was my absolute first attempt at the dish, and I have to say, it is divine. Even without the yogurt, it is creamy, tangy, and chock full of yum. Serve it over top of steamed, riced cauliflower, or even a spinach and pepper salad. Or, heck, just dive right into it like I did (and nearly burnt my mouth doing so). The leftovers are even better as the chicken has had a chance to soak in the “yogurt” marinade prior to cooking, and then the finalized sauce. The flavor is just out of this world! Even though it does take a little bit of time to cook, believe me, it’s worth it. Your kitchen will smell delicious, and best of all, all of the ingredients are cooked in one single pan. Easy-peasy!

Oh, and it definitely has enough of that delicious sauce. Mmmmm…

chicken tikka masala

I love tikka masala chicken because it’s so delicious!

Chicken Tikka Masala: Nearly Nut-free (Coconut), Dairy-free, Cardamom-free

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

4 Servings


  • 1/2 cup full-fat, canned Coconut Milk
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger: Or 1/2 TBSP fresh, grated Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper: Add more to intensify heat to your liking.
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 2-inch chunks. (About 2 lbs.)
  • Sauce:
  • 1 Medium Onion,Chopped
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper: Either roast yourself, or get the canned kind. I used the canned version.
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 TBSP Sunflower Butter
  • 1/4 cup full-fat, canned Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Fenugreek Seeds, Ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 1/2 tsp. Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala: Check to make sure it doesn't contain Cardamom (unless you don't react to that like I do).
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 8 oz. can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 TBSP Coconut Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  1. In a bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients.
  2. Cut your chicken breasts into 2-inch chunks. Place in ziplock bag, add marinade mixture, and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  3. Add 1 TBSP coconut oil to a pan over medium heat. Add chunks of chicken. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1 TBSP coconut oil to the same pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic. Cook until onions are just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently so that you don't burn the garlic.
  5. In a blender, add onion and garlic, roasted red pepper, and 1 TBSP sunflower butter. Purée until a thin paste forms.
  6. 1 TBSP of coconut oil to the pan. Add your ground cumin, garam masala, and ground coriander. Briefly brown the spices until aromatic (about 30 seconds to a minute; you don't want to burn it). Turn the heat down to low-medium. Then add your onion-pepper purée. Gently simmer for 4 minutes.
  7. Add tomato sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup Coconut Milk. Continue Simmering.
  8. Crush your fenugreek seeds and add.
  9. Add chicken, stir to coat.
  10. Add two bay leaves.
  11. Cover pan and allow to simmer on medium-low heat for an hour.
  12. Serve over steamed, riced cauliflower and nom! Mmmm, saucy!

© Julie Marie Pierpont and Death Defying Diet 2013-Present

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2 Responses to Allergy Friendly Chicken Tikka Masala

  1. […] searching. Here’s my recipe for this aromatic, Indian spice blend. Try it with our recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. Print Gluten Free and Soy Free Garam […]

  2. […] as good as mine. Almost. Nothing beats homemade, though. I would suggest throwing my recipe for the tikka masala sauce together instead of using store-bought if you’re making this as a meat-less option for […]

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