Nadia Lim's Chicken and Spinach Tikka Masala with Cauliflower ‘Rice’

. November, 2015
Photography by Tam West.
Nadia Lim's Chicken and Spinach Tikka Masala with Cauliflower ‘Rice’

Nadia Lim's new book Fresh Start has a tantalising selection of fresh, wholesome recipes, perfect for welcoming in the summer months. This curry is a perfect homemade alternative to takeaway, and a lot lighter too.

Serves: 4


Tikka masala
600g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2–3cm pieces
1 tablespoon oil

1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ​
garam masala 
1 tablespoon 
ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika 
1½ teaspoons ground turmeric 
1 teaspoon ground chilli 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons 
fresh ginger finely chopped or grated
zest of ½ 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 x 400g can crushed/chopped tomatoes 
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce 
juice of ½ lemon
½ cup cream
3 large handfuls baby spinach, chopped

To serve: 3–4 tablespoons, natural unsweetened yoghurt 
¼–½ cup coriander chopped
Buttered cauliflower rice
1 head cauliflower (about 750–800g including the stem), cut into florets
1 tablespoon butter
zest of ½ lemon
¼–½ cup ​
coriander or flat-leaf parsley, chopped

This curry has all the flavour but not the fat or sugar that most takeaways do. Cauliflower ‘rice’ is genius — it has the same light, fluffy texture as rice, but a fraction of the calories and it bumps up your vege intake, too.


Heat oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion for 6–8 minutes until soft and starting to turn golden brown. Add spices, garlic, ginger, lemon zest and salt and continue cooking for a further 1–2 minutes. If at any time the onion or spices are catching on the bottom of the pan and burning, just add a tablespoon or two of water, stir, and it should lift from the bottom of the pan.

Add chicken, tomatoes, sweet chilli sauce, lemon juice and cream, cover and simmer for 5–10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and sauce has slightly thickened. Stir through spinach until wilted, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently swirl through yoghurt.

To make the cauliflower rice, briefly blitz cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles the texture of rice or couscous. You may have to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the food processor. Transfer to a glass or microwavable bowl and microwave on high, uncovered, for a few minutes (this steams the cauliflower and evaporates extra moisture to make it fluffy). Toss hot cauliflower rice with butter and coriander or parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon some cauliflower rice and chicken tikka masala onto each plate. Garnish with a little yoghurt and coriander.

Cook's tip: If you don’t have a food processor, you can coarsely grate the cauliflower to resemble rice, or even very finely chop it using a large, sharp knife.