Chicken Tikka Masala

The popularity of Chicken Tikka Masala is testament to Britain’s centuries-old love affair with Indian food. Don’t be shy with the garlic and ginger – this dish is big on bold flavours. Simple to make, this curry also embraces other ingredients. For a vegetarian version, cut a block of paneer or tofu into large cubes and add the pieces, without marinating, to the tomato sauce at the end of cooking.

Recipe courtesy of "Curry: Fragrant Dishes from India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia" by David Thompson, copyright 2006. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved.

Chicken Tikka Masala

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    6 boned chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 lb (675 g) in total, skinned 1/2 tsp ground garam masala
    Juice of 2 limes 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 tsp paprika 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
    1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1 rounded tsp tomato puree
    1/2 tsp coriander seeds Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
    2 shallots, roughly chopped 1 1/4 in (3 cm) piece fresh root ginger, grated
    4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped 1 tsp lime juice
    15/8 in (4 cm) piece fresh root ginger, roughly chopped 1/2 tsp caster sugar
    2 green chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped 1 3/4 oz (50 g) unsalted butter
    125 g (4 1/2 oz) plain Greek-style yogurt 4 fl oz (125 ml) single cream


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    • 1

      Cut the chicken thighs into 1 1/4 in (3 cm) chunks. Combine the lime juice and paprika and mix with the chicken. Leave on one side while you roast and grind the cumin and coriander seeds (Roasting and grinding spices).

    • 2

      Put the shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies into a food processor. Drain the lime juice and paprika mixture from the chicken and add to the onion mixture. Process until smooth. Tip into a mixing bowl and stir in the yogurt, garam masala and add half the coriander and cumin powder.

    • 3

      Pour the spiced yogurt mixture over the chicken, turning every piece so that it’s evenly coated. Cover with cling film and marinate overnight in the fridge. If you can, flip the chicken over once or twice while it’s marinating.

    • 4

      Preheat the grill, with the grill pan in place, to its hottest setting.

    • 5

      Take the chicken out of the yogurt marinade and arrange on the hot grill pan. Drizzle with the oil and grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until beginning to char around the edges. Pour any cooking juices into a bowl and skim off any fat. Keep the chicken warm while you make the sauce.

    • 6

      Combine the tomatoes, tomato puree, coriander leaves, ginger, lime juice, sugar and remaining cumin and coriander powder in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Heat the butter in a saucepan and, when melted, add the spiced tomato mixture and cream. Bring to simmering point, then strain in the reserved cooking juices and add the cooked chicken pieces. Reheat and serve piping hot, with Indian breads.

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