Chicken Tikka Quinoa Bowls with Pikliz and Cucumber

This recipe was inspired by one on Pinch of Yum. I modified this recipe quite a bit as I am often prone to do. I think my kids were probably slightly mad at me for this one, because I often make a big spread of Indian food, which they love, and this was like a healthier teaser hint of an Indian dish. I probably owe them a big true Indian dinner soon.

I liked this recipe because it was quick and healthy, but still had some Indian flavors. We always keep some jarred Indian pickle condiments around, so we added some of those when eating too.

This recipe called for coleslaw in the dish, but I had some pikliz in my fridge I made a while ago, so I used that instead. Pikliz is a Haitian condiment made of similar ingredients to coleslaw – carrots, cabbage, bell pepper, and scotch bonnet peppers – shaved thinly and pickled in straight vinegar. Pikliz is definitely more a condiment than side dish, because it is so acidic, so you need a lot less pikliz than you would coleslaw. I absolutely love pikliz and keep a jar in my fridge often to add onto sandwiches or as a little side to many dishes.

I did include cucumber and pickled red onion as per the recipe. I used boneless chicken breasts instead of frozen tenders, and I brined them overnight and then cut into chunks and sauteed before adding to my tikka sauce for a slightly healthier version of the original. Since I was going for quick and easy on this one, I used store bought tikka simmer sauce for the chicken vs making my own.

This recipe had a mint/cilantro sauce that was very similar to the dressing I made for last night’s Crispy Chicken Taco Salad, which was delicious, but I didn’t make dressing for this as the pikliz adds so much flavor I didn’t think it needed anything else. I made sourdough today, so we ate a bunch of that with this too. Overall we all liked the flavors and textures of this dish and it was a good weeknight meal.

Chicken Tikka:

  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jar of tikka masala simmer sauce

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl with the oil, salt, garlic and onion powders and marinate overnight. I almost always brine or marinate my meat overnight before cooking because it really helps develop flavor and helps the meat stay moist, but you can totally skip that step if you want.

Put a little oil into a frying pan over medium high and when hot, add the chicken and brown it. Poor on the simmer sauce and cover and let cook until the chicken is cooked through.

For the bowl:

  • few cups cooked quinoa
  • cucumber rounds
  • pickled red onions
  • pikliz or coleslaw
  • chicken tikka masala from above
  • chopped cilantro

Place your quinoa in a bowl and top with the chicken and sauce, then add the extras and serve.


  • 2 1/2 cups thin sliced cabbage – I use my mandolin I talked about here.
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced onions or shallots
  • 6 scotch bonnet peppers, stemmed and quartered
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice

Pack the vegetables into 2 quart jars. Add the salt and spices. Fill jars with vinegar and lime juice. Cover and shake until salt is dissolved. Store in the fridge.

2 thoughts on “Chicken Tikka Quinoa Bowls with Pikliz and Cucumber

  1. Yum! When we first moved here, Andrew worked with a guy from the southern part of India. His wife always made everything from scratch – down to grating the coconut. It was fabulous eating there, as the dishes were new to me (l generally ate dishes from the north). We had a cooking day once and she warned me to wear older clothes as the smell of the spices would permeate everything. They did, but it was worth it!

    1. Indian food is so impressive to me in it’s flavors and complexity. It takes tons of time to make from scratch but it’s so worth it as you said.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: