Gluten Free

Is Chicken Tikka Masala Gluten Free? Everything You Need To Know

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If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine for the joy it brings to the palate, then you must know the creamy and luscious chicken tikka masala with a complex flavor. Chicken masala is a blend of spices, tender chicken, and a sauce I find irresistible. While so yummy, a major concern for gluten-sensitive people or celiacs is the gluten content. In this culinary expedition, we have examined the gluten status, health benefits, and implications, the gluten status of common ingredients used, and provided a delicious gluten-free recipe I know you’ll love to try.

What Is Chicken Masala?

Chicken tikka masala is made of deboned chunks of chicken marinated in yogurt and spice, then roasted and served with an orange-colored creamy sauce. There is no standard recipe for chicken masala, but coriander and tomato sauce are commonly used.

There are over 48 different recipes for chicken tikka masala, and the only consistent ingredient is the chicken. The sauces will usually consist of tomatoes, coconut cream, cream, and masala spice mix. Turmeric, or paprika, is usually used to color the recipe.

What Does Chicken Masala Taste Like?

This Indian cuisine is adorned with an exotic aroma that is intensely flavorful and will delight any palate. There are two primary types of tikka masala. One is more spicy, while the other is sweet. Both are rich in flavor and are often served with naan bread or rice.

While there are numerous recipes, each with its own twist, Chicken tikka masala has a tomato-based, earthy, creamy, tangy, or sweet taste, or sometimes a coconut taste. In general, you’ll agree with me that all the chicken tikka masala sold at different restaurants tastes different, which is how random the recipe could be.

Is Chicken Tikka masala healthy?

The spices and herbs in chicken tikka masala not only add to the delicious musty taste, but they are also equally healthy. For instance, the allicin in garlic used in chicken tikka masala not only gives it its distinct scent but also boosts the immune system. Also, the buildup of heavy metals in the body can be detoxified by garlic.

An average active woman needs about 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day to maintain her weight, while an average active man would require 2,200 to 2,800 calories. A serving of chicken tikka masala could contribute 35 to 39% of your daily calorie requirements.

A serving of chicken tikka masala has an inherent 53 grams of fat and 28 grams of saturated fat (accounting for 138% of your daily value as per a 2,000-calorie diet), and it is no secret that saturated fat will increase the risk of heart disease and increase your cholesterol level. With 230mg of cholesterol per serving, it is necessary to take caution if you’ve been battling with increasing blood cholesterol levels.

59% of your daily sodium requirement could be met with the 1,400 milligrams of sodium present in chicken tikka masala as a result of the number of salts used. A high daily sodium intake will, over time, lead to high blood pressure.

Is chicken tikka masala gluten free?

Traditional chicken tikka masala, made from a marinade consisting of yogurt and various spices, chicken, a sauce that includes tomatoes and cream, and rice flour or cornstarch used as a thickener, is gluten-free.

However, the gluten threat may come from cross-contamination in the kitchen or thickening agents such as wheat flour used in some recipes in order to achieve the desired consistency.

If you are gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease, when placing an order for chicken tikka masala at a restaurant, communicate your dietary needs with the waiter or chef. Most restaurants don’t prioritize gluten-free meals and will cross-contaminate anyway, but CAVA and some others will surely take measures to ensure they don’t cross-contaminate your meal when you make your diet restrictions clear. If you choose to make it at home, we have an awesome gluten-free chicken tikka masala recipe that will captivate your taste buds.

Ingredients in chicken tikka masala

Ingredient Gluten Status
Chicken Gluten-Free
Yogurt Gluten-Free
Garam Masala Gluten-Free
Turmeric Gluten-Free
Cumin Gluten-Free
Coriander Gluten-Free
Paprika Gluten-Free
Chili Powder Depends on the source
Garlic Gluten-Free
Ginger Gluten-Free
Lemon Juice or Vinegar Gluten-Free
Onion Gluten-Free
Tomatoes or Tomato Sauce Gluten-Free
Heavy cream or coconut milk Gluten-Free
Butter or Ghee Depends on the source
Salt and pepper Gluten-Free

Another gluten-free chicken dish you could try

There is another chicken dish that I love making so much, and I feel you would like to indulge in it for maximum palate satisfaction:

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken has a tangy, salty, savory, and sweet taste that is derived from caramelizing syrup, honey, or sugar and the addition of sweet wine, ginger, garlic, and soy. The resulting delicious taste is complex and pleasing. The traditional teriyaki chicken is not gluten-free, but you could try our gluten-free teriyaki recipe.

Does chicken tikka masala contain gluten? Final Thoughts

The traditional chicken tikka masala doesn’t call for wheat as a thickener, making it gluten-free. However, there are over 48 variations of this recipe, and each is made with a unique set of ingredients or methods that may introduce gluten to the meal. Also, some spices could harbor hidden gluten-containing ingredients (in rare cases).

Inquiring about what is in the particular chicken tikka masala at any restaurant you go to is pivotal in ensuring your meal stays gluten-free.

Cortiso Davids

My culinary adventure began at an early age when I would stand on a chair to help my mom stir pancake batter. Over the years, I've honed my skills and knowledge, drawing inspiration from family recipes, celebrated chefs, and the vibrant food cultures that make our world so diverse and fascinating.

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