Chicken Tikka Masala is basically the national dish of Britain these days and for good reason, it is made up of marinated chicken pieces that are cooked in a buttery, creamy and spicy sauce. Match this with white rice, naan bread, pappadums and a 6 pack of beer and although you will have a great night, you will have a weeks worth of fat and calories in one meal!
This doesn’t have to be the case…..
The idea of making a healthy AND vegan version that resembles the original, is something I have always wanted to try and I feel, after a few attempts, that I am there!
The creaminess comes from soaked cashews that are blitzed with (light) coconut cream, tomatoes, chilli and ginger to replicate the creamy comfort feel of the original, whilst tasting amazing. The healthy fat content is well taken care of here and not wanting to push it any further, I have gone with “frying” the veg in water, a process that gets rid of any needless extra calories/fat. The chicken becomes protein rich tofu and is baked rather than fried and finally I have gone with brown rice that will keep you fuller for longer and supply a slower releasing energy, over the white variety.
This is a real nutritional box ticker. High in carbs, loaded with protein and containing moderate, but healthy amounts of fat and made using predominantly whole food ingredients. The type of food you SHOULD be eating, especially if you are an athlete.
You will love this one as much as I did, just make sure you don’t include the naan or pappadums!
Nutritional Information (including the rice):
- Calories = 715
- Protein = 35g
- Fat = 23.9g
- Saturated Fat = 5.1g
- Carbohydrate = 88g
- Cholesterol = 0g
- 500g firm tofu, drained and pressed (for at least 15 minutes) and cut into bite size pieces
- 2 cups brown rice (dry weight)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 200g button mushrooms, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 400g can tomatoes (or 4 or 5 fresh tomatoes)
- ½ cup natural cashews (soaked overnight or boiled for 10 minutes if you do not have a high speed blender)
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk (go full fat if you are a dangerous mofo)
- 1 cup homemade vegetable stock or water (I advise against store bought stocks that are high in sodium, but if you do use one, reduce the salt you add later)
- 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
- 5cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- Handful spinach leaves (around 60g)
- Small batch coriander, chopped
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chilli powder (depending on taste/strength!)
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: 1 lemon quartered and handful of dried sultanas
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil
- Preheat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius
- Lay the drained and pressed tofu pieces on a baking paper lined tray and bake for 20 minutes, turning half way
- Meanwhile, put a casserole dish/large saute pan over a medium heat
- After about 5 minutes, put the rice in the boiling water and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes (or according to package instructions)
- Whilst the rice is cooking, add the onions, mushrooms and garlic to your pan. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and give everything a good stir. Cook the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly and adding more water if the veg sticks to the bottom of the pan but be careful not to add too much
- As you do this, add the tomatoes, cashews, coconut milk, green chilli and ginger to a blender and blend until everything has completely liquidised
- Add the spices to the vegetables and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes, stirring really well. Add a tablespoon of water (or less) if things are too dry
- Add the tofu, sauce from the blender and water/stock to the pan. Cook to thicken and make sure you stir regularly
- 5 minutes before you are ready to serve, stir in the spinach leaves and then 2 minutes later, the coriander. Season with salt and pepper and add the sultanas, if using
- Divide the rice into 4 bowls and spoon over the sauce. Serve with some lemon wedges to squeeze over
- Get it into ya!!