This low-carb recipe is great with or without the masala sauce. I’ll often make a double batch (without the sauce) when I’m on the Carnivore Diet. These meatballs make easy and delicious dinners for days.
I must admit, until recently, I had no idea what tikka masala actually was. All I knew— chicken tikka was the dish to order! So instead of dragging my husband out for Indian every once in a blue moon, I thought it was time I brought this recipe into my own kitchen.
What is Tikka Masala?
Chicken tikka masala is a vibrant and flavorful dish consisting of roasted chicken chunks in spiced tomato-based curry sauce. Traditionally, chicken tikka calls for chunks of dark meat, marinated in yogurt, and then roasted to perfection. I’ve put a spin on traditional because hey— I’m a brand new mama without time for the paste making, marinating, and roasting most recipes call for. Though far from traditional, the final outcome is true to flavor and certainly blog-worthy.
Is This Dish Spicy?
The level of heat all depends on how much pepper you choose to add.
Kashmiri chili— The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili. This mild Indian chili intensifies the color and enhances the Tikka flavor. However, Kashmiri chili can be difficult to get your hands on. If you can’t find it, don’t stress— regular chili powder will do.
Cayenne pepper— This dish also calls for cayenne pepper— and that’s where things get spicy! Cayenne is a moderately hot chili pepper. If you prefer a mild Masala I’d suggest omitting the cayenne entirely.
Can This be Made Dairy-free?
Turning this delicious dish into a dairy-free experience is actually quite simple. Here’s how to do it.
- Replace the heavy whipping cream with a 14 ounce can of full-fat coconut milk.
- Swap the butter with avocado oil, olive oil, or better yet, pork lard.
- Omit the Parmigiano Reggiano.
The best part is, it’s just as good dairy-free!
Tips for Making the Best Meatballs
- Don’t skip the pork rinds. Maybe you don’t really like pork rinds— hey, I don’t love ’em either. Don’t worry about it— you won’t even be able to taste them. The pork rinds are all about enhancing the texture of the meatball.
- Do not over-mix the meat. Overworking the meat will result in tough, rubbery meatballs— and that’s not what you want. What we’re going for are tender, juicy meatballs.
- Make even-sized meatballs. The last thing you want to do is bite into a meatball and find one is raw while another is dry and over-cooked. Rolling the meat into evenly-sized balls will result in an even-cook.
- Cook them to temperature (165°F). Overcooked chicken is the WORST! Consider investing in a meat thermometer. Using a thermometer will ensure perfectly cooked meatballs.
- Work with fresh ingredients. Choose fresh cilantro over dried, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over Kraft Parmesan, and fresh-squeezed lemon over pre-squeezed. Fresh ingredients are always best.
- Purchase high-quality ground chicken. The idea here is to avoid purchasing meat from factory farms such as Tyson, Perdue, or Cargill. The reason being, factory farms are more concerned with the bottom line than they are with animal or planetary welfare. What’s more, the meat doesn’t taste nearly as good as Certified Humane. Click here for help in locating high-quality chicken near you.
Looking for Additional Inspiration?
Keto Butter Chicken, from Green and Keto
Legit Keto Naan Bread, from Gnom-Gnom
Keto Coconut Chicken Curry, from Sweet as Honey
Instant Pot Lamb Korma, from Spice Cravings
Indian Butter Cauliflower, from Wholesome Delicious
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