Kid-Friendly, Mild Chicken (and Chickpea) Tikka Masala (Tomato and Cream Indian Dish)


Have you ever ordered take out Indian for yourself and your kids and you say “zero level spicy, no spice, very very mild” and then you pick up the food, open it up, take a steaming bite, and quickly realize it’s way too spicy and you or your kids will hate dinner!?! Anyone, anyone?

It’s happened a fair amount to me….and we barely order out. So I assume I am not alone in this category.

This recipe hits in a few different ways…it’s mild, vey kid friendly, but also delicious and easy.

So let’s repeat that:
Mild, kid-friendly

This Indian meal is a healthier version of chicken tikka masala. The fat is from the oil and cream – but that’s it. I like to add in a can of chickpeas because it adds in more healthy protein and fiber into this meal.

Chickpea benefits from WebMD:

  • Chickpeas help control blood sugar. Canned and dried chickpeas have a low glycemic index. This means your body absorbs and digests them slowly. Also, they have a type of starch that digests slowly, called amylose. Both of these things help keep your blood sugar and insulin from going up too fast. This is good for people with diabetes.
  • They help with digestion. Chickpeas are high in dietary fiber, especially a soluble fiber called raffinose. The good bacteria in your gut breaks this down so your colon can digest it slowly. Studies have found that eating more chickpeas can help make bowel movements easier and more regular.
  • They can help lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber is good for more than gut health. It can lessen your total cholesterol and your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. This lowers your risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that you can lessen your total cholesterol if you add chickpeas to your diet.
  • They may lower your cancer risk. When you eat chickpeas, your body makes a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate. In studies, butyrate is shown to help get rid of sick and dying cells. This may lower your risk for colorectal cancer. Chickpeas have other cancer-fighting compounds, too, such as lycopene and saponins.
  • They give you stronger bones. Chickpeas and other legumes have calcium, magnesium, fiber, and other nutrients for strong bones. But be sure to soak them first to get rid of things called phytates, which can get in the way of your body absorbing the calcium in chickpeas. 
  • They could boost your mental health. Chickpeas have choline, a nutrient that helps make important chemicals for memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system activity.

Chicken tikka masala is tomato and cream bases sauce. This recipe adaptation uses simple and accessible spices — garam masala and coriander. You can find other recipes that have a lot more ingredients, but the simplicity of this recipe makes it something that is totally accessible and easy to make.

If you want to make this vegetarian, you can sub out the chicken and add in more veggies and/or add in another can of chickpeas. If you aren’t a fan of chickpeas, you can add in more chicken and/or veggies.

Chicken tikka masala started gaining popularity on tiktok last year when it kept creeping into foodtok videos of people eating takeout. It was fun to see people try new regional food types…

This recipe yields a lot of the tomato/cream sauce – which let’s be honest, is the best part. You can enjoy by serving this over rice or dip your naan into it. Leftovers save great and are good to go in your fridge for lunches the next day!

This meal is kid friendly, family friendly and tasty. Make this and let me know what you think!

This is a family friendly, kid friendly meal. Perfect for those nights you want to switch it up and are tempted to order takeout – this saves you a ton of money and calories. And you won’t have any kids yelling because they are hungry and their mouths are on fire!

One step that I feel helps the dish a lot is allowing the cut chicken breast pieces to marinate in the yogurt and ginger garlic paste for a while. If you are a planner, doing this the day before works fantastic. If you are more like me, and running low on marinating time, simply cut the chicken and allow the meat to sit with the yogurt while you are cutting the onions and sautéing them. It’s not ideal, but it still works.

Why is the yogurt marinade important? The lactic acid in the yogurt gently breaks down the meat and tenderizes it. It also increases the amount of water absorbed by meat, and helps the meat hold onto it through the cooking process, which means the meat is tender and flavorful.

This recipe takes a few minutes to prep (marinating the chicken and dicing the onion) but after that is a one dish recipe. Clean up is easy and that makes this dish even more appealing!

Serve with basmati rice and naan. For a side, I suggest a quick side like Indian spiced carrots and potatoes or saag. Recipes coming soon to the blog!

Kid-Friendly, Mild Chicken (and Chickpea) Tikka Masala (Tomato and Cream Indian Dish)

Recipe by Bookish TableCourse: Uncategorized


Prep time


Cooking time






  • For the Chicken Marinade
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt*

  • 2 T. ginger garlic paste

  • 1 t. salt

  • Tikka Masala Sauce
  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 T. oil

  • 24 ounce tomato puree

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained

  • 2 T. coriander

  • 1.5 T. garam masala

  • 2 t. salt

  • 1/8 t. pepper

  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream


  • Make the Marinade
  • Dice your chicken into bite size pieces. In a large mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.
  • Stir until combined, and add the chicken. Set aside in fridge for a few hours, overnight, or (as mentioned above) leave on the counter while you prep the rest of your ingredients (Ideally this sits for a few hours, but ya know, life).
  • Make the Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Finely dice your onion.
  • Heat your oil in a large cooking pot. Add in your onions and 1/2 t. salt. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes until translucent.
  • Add your spices and continue to stir for 1 minute, to gently warm up the spices.
  • Add the chicken to the pot (marinade and all), the tomato puree, chickpeas and remaining salt.
  • Allow this to gently simmer for 15 minutes. Lid on.
  • After 15 minutes, remove the lid and turn off the heat and add in your heavy cream. Stir.
  • Serve over basmati rice and with naan.
  • Leftovers last 5 days in the fridge and reheat beautifully.


  • I prefer whole milk plain yogurt. I have not tried this with fat free or reduced fat.

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