Healthier chicken balti

Healthier chicken balti

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(35 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 30 mins Plus marinating

Skill level



Serves 4

A lighter version of the Indian takeaway classic from Angela Nilsen, this tomato-based curry is packed with extra spinach and peppers

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • 450g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1½ tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods, split
  • 1 small to medium green chilli
  • ½ tsp cumin seed
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2½ cm-piece ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 250ml organic passata
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded, cut into small chunks
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 85g baby spinach leaves
  • handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • chapatis or basmati rice, to serve (optional)

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  1. Put the chicken in a medium bowl. Mix in the lime juice, paprika, chilli powder and a grinding of black pepper (step 1), then leave to marinate for at least 15 mins, preferably a bit longer.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick wok or sauté pan. Tip in the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, whole chilli and cumin seeds, and stir-fry briefly just to colour and release their fragrance (step 2). Stir in the onion, garlic and ginger and fry over a medium-high heat for 3-4 mins until the onion starts to turn brown. Add the remaining oil, then drop in the chicken and stir-fry for 2-3 mins or until it no longer looks raw. Mix the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander and garam masala together. Tip into the pan, lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 mins (step 3). Pour in the passata and 150ml water, then drop in the chunks of pepper. When starting to bubble, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 mins or until the chicken is tender.
  3. Stir in the tomato, simmer for 2-3 mins, then add the spinach and turn it over in the pan to just wilt. Season with a little salt. If you want to thin down the sauce, splash in a little more water. Remove the cinnamon stick, chilli and cardamom pods, if you wish, before serving. Scatter with fresh coriander and serve with warm chapatis or basmati rice, if you like.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2012

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chu237's picture
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That was really good! I was in a hurry so I skipped the marinating bit, and just put all the spices in the pan at the same time. I served it with brown rice and it was a relatively quick and delicious dinner!

Loubs's picture
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Wow! This is the best curry I have ever made. I used chopped tomatoes instead of passata and added a tin of chick peas and finely sliced green beans. It had a wonderful texture and I found the spices were perfect. The whole family loved it and you would never guess this was a low fat recipe. Will definitely make again.

Garfield90's picture
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Really easy recipe! I didn't have a few of the ingredients so I substituted hot chilli powder with crushed chilli flakes, 1 cinnamon stick for 1tsp ground cinnamon, cumin seeds for ground cumin. 1 small to medium green chilli for crushed chilli flakes again. I just couldn't be bothered to buy any more herbs/spices as the cupboard is full. The curry is genuinely really nice, it is probably the best curry I've made from this website, and its all from scratch. I've tried many using different curry pastes etc! I didn't bother with the fresh coriander either because I don't like it.

Ruthie_15's picture
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Made this for my family and it went down a storm! Tasted amazing and was fairly easy to make. I used mild chilli powder as my mum can't handle spicy food well but it tasted great regardless. We ate ours with homemade chapatis using another Good Food recipe. Would definitely recommend and will make again.

River's picture
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Great recipe. Tastes fantastic and the preparation isn't too involved.

carrow's picture
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Packed full of flavour. I used the mild chilli powder as my little one was eating it and my older one doesn`t like lots of spice. I also used the whole carton of passata 500 g and let it sizzle a bit longer I didn`t want to throw the rest out.. It tasted really fresh. I served it with sub rolls but next time I will add potatoes. Will be making this again soon !!!

zadkiel73's picture
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Made this for my partner who is on a diet. Pleasantly surprised and turned out really nice. Good fresh flavour to it and very tasty. Added hot paprika powder and some cayenne pepper to it which gave it a nice kick. Would make again

Nancy54321's picture

Really lovely and full of flavour. So nice to make from fresh even if it does take a while to prepare. It takes so fresh and healthy. Gonna make this one again.

Alessya19's picture

Really delicios. I can't belive that something can taste so good and be so healthy. I will defenetly make this again.

cshobbs's picture

Very good!
I replaced the onion with a sweet pepper, and the spinach with green beans.

tracy2014's picture

Absolutely love this. Favourite curry ever!

smozzer's picture
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Cooked it tonight....quite time consuming, but absolutely delicious. My son wolfed it down and he is by no means a low fat eater. This is a top notch curry and I would make it for friends to entertain too.

Pee's picture

Aside from swapping the passata/whole tomato for a tin of chopped tomatoes and a squirt of tomato puree and omitting the spinach (not overly keen) I stuck to the recipe.... pleased with the end result, very enjoyable flavoursome dish and plenty of sauce for mopping up with naan bread. The lime came through but was not overpowering. Made the whole recipe for 2 people so got to freeze the leftovers for another day :-).

SophieB1402's picture

This is one of my favourite recipes from Good Food. The fresh tomatoes and spinach make it taste really fresh and it's a lot lighter than most curries. I often use more tomatoes and spinach to make it extra healthy! The chicken definitely benefits from a few hours' marinating before cooking. Having made this a few times, I now add an extra chilli and up the spices as I like my curries with a bit of a kick. Served with steamed lime and coriander brown rice.

wikkiwoodles's picture

This was so yummy!!!! Can't believe it's so low fat!

pinkkann's picture

Lots of flavour and really low cal (although, as ever, I think the BBC calorie amount is too low) so great for the 5:2 diet. The person who thought the recipe "grose" must have made something else altogether as it's a great recipe.

aboogie's picture

it was absolutely grose it literally made me neally choke up so i gave it to the dog next door and he enjoyed it

titch41966's picture

Try using spellcheck 'Grose' !!!?????

Murgz007's picture

So what was it about the dish you didn't like? "Absolutely gross" sounds like a comment you'd hear from a child referring to a brussel sprout!!

kateyb's picture

Really good recipe and does not suffer at all from being 'low fat' in fact it's nicer as less greasy than many curries. I like it with extra chilli. Didn't have time to marinate but it was still delicious.