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Chicken Tikka Masala


This recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala comes from India and was commissioned to compliment the earlier published article entitled Indian Cooking . . . how did it become so popular?

Tikka means chunks or pieces. Chicken Tikka Masala is a dish of roasted chicken pieces in spicy orange colour gravy and is eaten in most south Asian countries.

Chicken pieces are marinated in yoghurt and spices and roasted in a tandoor. There is no specific recipe for chicken tikka but main ingredients remain the same which are chicken and yoghurt. It is the most popular restaurant dish in Britain today. This is one Indian dish which got popularity because of Britons.

There are a few different theories about the origin of the dish, some claim that it was created in an Indian restaurant and is a improvisation of Punjab cuisines in the last 50 years, another chef from Pakistan claims that he created this dish with adding yoghurt and cream. Some claim that it has been created in Birmingham and Newcastle. Some compare it with another dish of North India, which is butter chicken.

Ingredients for Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients for the tikka:
1kg boneless chicken
¼ cup curd or yoghurt
½ tsp ginger and garlic (crushed)
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
Green cardamom (powdered)
Lemon juice
Edible orange colour
Cooking oil
Butter or margarine (melted)

Ingredients for the gravy:
Onions (finely chopped)
Cooking oil
Tomatoes (chopped)
Ginger and garlic paste
Green chillies (chopped and de-seeded)
1 tsp cloves
Green cardamoms
Chilli powder
Salt to taste
Honey to taste

How to make Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Cut chicken pieces into cubes. Mix together all of the ingredients for the tikka, add the chicken pieces and marinate overnight in the fridge.
  • Skewer the chicken pieces and grill until they are brown and tender on all sides. Keep basting with melted butter or margarine to prevent them from burning. Alternatively these can be baked in the oven – preheat oven to 350°F, baste with butter or margarine and bake for 8 minutes. Drain excess marinade and bake for a further 2 minutes.
  • To prepare the gravy add some oil to a pan, heat and add the finely chopped onions. Fry until they caramelise and then add the chopped tomatoes and ginger and garlic paste.
  • Cook until the oil separates and then add the chopped green chilli (deseeded), chilli powder, cardamoms, cloves and salt.
  • Add four cups of water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. Strain, put back on the gas and add cream and butter. If desired add honey.
  • Add the chicken tikka to the gravy and simmer for a while.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander.
  • Serve with hot naan.

To get a smoky barbecue flavour, cover a small bowl with aluminium foil and put it on top of the cooked chicken tikka. Make a small piece of coal red hot and put it in this foil bowl, immediately cover the chicken pan. Leave it for five minutes and remove the foil bowl with coal.

Serves 4

"Just a comment about the quantity of ingredients in this series of recipes, I would say that most people add in different amounts according to how they like it. Recipes are either normally passed on or people learn by experimenting with different amounts of spices until they get the taste they like, for example, I know I put different amounts of thngs into curries than my family and friends do, everyone does tend to work out how much they like."

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Harpreet Virdee



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