March 2, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala
MUNCH RATING: 4/5
 
This is a dish you will need to prepare in advance as you need to marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours or overnight. This makes the chicken lovely and tender and really flavoursome. I served this with pilaf rice which I cooked in my Tefal 4-in-1 rice cooker, but you can do this in the oven using this pilaf recipe.

This dish is actually really easy to make, as the sauce is basically a spicy tomato and onion sauce laced with cream or yoghurt.
  • Serves 4

Ingredients:
About 4 – 6 Chicken pieces, cut into 2 inch chunks (I always use thighs but they tend to vary in size, so I allow at least 1 large thigh per person and add a couple extra).

FOR THE MARINADE
  • 4 cm /1 ½ inches ginger, grated
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala*
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder*
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder*
  • ½ ground cumin*
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons natural yoghurt (this is about half of a 150ml pot)
FOR THE SAUCE
  • ½ onion, chopped (use the other ½ for the pilaf rice)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 or 3 tinned plum tomatoes or third of a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 5 tablespoons natural yoghurt (this is the other half of the 150ml pot) or double cream for a creamier, less tangy flavour.
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional) 

Directions:
  1. Make the Marinade: Put the ginger, garlic, spices, salt and lemon juice into a wide shallow non-metallic dish and mix into a smooth paste, then add the chicken and mix to coat thoroughly. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Make the sauce: Fry the onion in a tablespoon of oil until softened and golden brown. (If making pilaf rice then set aside ½ of the onion at this stage). Stir in the curry powder and cook for 2 minutes, adding a splash of water if it starts to catch on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and stir over a high heat for a few minutes until they have broken down. Add the chicken stock and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Take off the heat and use a blender to make the sauce smooth. Return to the heat and stir in the yoghurt or double cream and honey.
  3. Cook the chicken: Heat the grill to its highest setting. Arrange the chicken pieces on an oven tray and cook for 5-10 minutes until charred at the edges, then turn the chicken pieces over and cook for a further few minutes until completely cooked through.
  4. Add the cooked chicken to the sauce, along with any juices from the oven tray and give it a good stir. Heat through until piping hot and serve with rice.

COOK'S NOTES:
You can adjust the spice mix to your own tastes or whatever you have in the cupboard. The 4 main spices used in curries are: turmeric, cumin, chilli and ground coriander. These were the main spices that were in my curry powder and garam masala and I added extra cumin and chilli as ‘top notes’ to my curry.

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