Chicken Tikka Masala

I really fancy an Indian (Need a curry fix)

My cousin, Marissa, asked me to post a Chicken Tikka Masala recipe.  I love getting suggestions from people.  It’s not easy to wake up every morning with a new culinary idea!  Thanks Marissa!

I have been cooking Indian food for 25 years.  It is my desert island food choice.  My aunt Marjorie taught me everything I know about Indian food after living in India in the early 1960’s.  I am fortunate to have all of her recipes that she collected over the years.

Chicken Tikka Masala originated in Britain, one chef in Glasgow Scotland claims he invented it. It is the British National Dish and  is said to be the most popular dish in the UK. If you ever visit India, you will realize that Chicken Tikka Masala doesn’t exist.

The word Tikka means pieces or bits and masala means spice blend.  Chicken Tikka Masala is a delicious dish in which pre-marinated pieces of chicken are grilled and then added to a thick creamy gravy.

There are thousands of versions of this recipe.  If you can get to an Indian spice shop, buy your spices there instead of a regular supermarket.  It will be a lot less expensive and you get larger quantities.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 Tbs tandoori paste
2 Tbs natural yoghurt
3 Tbs vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1 cinnamon stick
8 cardamom pods
1 large onion, finely chopped
1¼  inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
½-1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
8 oz of canned diced tomatoes
¾ cup chicken stock or water
1½ tsp garam masala
½ lemon, juice only
½ tsp salt

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and mix with the tandoori paste and yoghurt. Leave to marinate in a non-metallic dish for at least a couple of hours (or overnight), stirring occasionally.

Heat the oil or ghee in a deep frying pan, and when it’s very hot add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and onion. Fry for about 5-6 minutes until beginning to brown, then add the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper.

After the spices have cooked for about a minute, add the chicken with the marinade. Fry for 3-4 minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes, chicken stock or water, garam masala, lemon juice and salt. Bring the curry to a simmer and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes. Serve straight away with rice or naan bread.

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