Chicken Tikka Masala
What is supposedly Britain’s favourite dish? A Chicken Tikka Masala right? This is my version of that dish – however I am using the Punjabi word for chicken.
Now this creation is a melt in the mouth taste explosion – so be sure to try it. In the Punjab the chicken is cooked in a Tandoor before the sauce is poured over it – however, unless you have one of those, your regular grill can create just as amazing a dish. In fact one of my on-line students actually built his own Tandoor so he could cook this dish exactly how it should be made! The chicken can even be cooked on a barbeque for that authentic chargrilled flavour. Marinate the chicken pieces for as long as you can, and never cut your chicken too small. Many people are under the impression the smaller you cut it the quicker it will cook and easier it is to eat without getting your hands dirty. The larger the cubes the more tender your chicken will be. As always, trust me on this.
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
A small piece of cinnamon stick
1½ tsp ground turmeric
1 teaspoon kashmiri chilli
1 tsp hot chilli powder
½ tsp ground fennel seeds
4 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
3 tbsp plain natural yogurt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned and cut into chunks
sunflower oil, for greasing
For the masala sauce:
2 tbsp softened butter
3 bay leaves
1 large onion chopped
3 tbsp garlic/ginger paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 x 400g tomatoes – blended
2 green chillies – chopped
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
3 tbsp double cream
1) Heat the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick in a frying pan or spice warmer over a medium heat. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly until toasted – they are ready when they release a beautiful aroma. Tip everything into a pestle and mortar or electric spice grinder, add the fennel seeds, turmeric, kashmiri chilli, chilli powder and a teaspoon of salt and grind everything to a fine powder.
2) Spoon 3 tablespoons of this spice mixture into a glass or plastic bowl, setting the remaining ground spice aside for the sauce, and stir in the garlic & ginger paste and yoghurt. Stir the chicken pieces into the spiced yoghurt and cover with cling film and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 3 hours.
3) Thread the chicken pieces onto a lightly greased metal skewer. You should be able to fit about 8 pieces of chicken on to each skewer, leaving 1–2cm between each piece. Preheat the grill to its hottest setting and place the skewers on a rack over a grill pan lined with foil.
4) Cook the chicken until it is completely white on the inside lightly charred on the outside, turning midway during the cooking process.
5) Remove from the skewers and set aside
1) Heat the butter and in a large non-stick saucepan and add the bay-leaves and onions and cook until the onions have softened and started to turn a golden colour.
2) Add the garlic & ginger paste and turmeric.
3) Stir in the blended tomatoes and chilli and allow to cook on a medium heat until the tomato has cooked down and is darker in colour, add the dried fenugreek leaves, rubbing between your palms to release their flavour.
4) Add the salt and remainder of the spice you set aside from the marinade you made earlier and stir.
5) Add hot water from the kettle gradually and thin the sauce down until it’s not too thick but make sure you don’t make it too runny either
6) Blend the sauce using a stick blender or food processor until it is as smooth as you can get it.
7) Stir in the cream slowly, and add the pieces of chicken you cooked earlier.
8) Add chopped coriander as a garnish before you serve with rice, roti or naan.