Perfect Chicken Tikka Masala

What could be nicer than a big plateful of Chicken Tikka Masala and rice? This is a combination of a few recipes, and after a few attempts, my absolute favourite version! I took inspiration from Jamie Oliver and The Guardian. It also follows some of my Surprisingly Easy Samosas perfectly.

I should note that this isn’t a quick recipe – the chicken should marinate for at least 4 hours, and it takes about an hour to cook, but it is so worth it!

Ingredients (serves 6)

600g boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 lemons
1 tsp ground cloves
1 and 1/2 tsp cumin
2tbsp sweet smoked paprika
2tbsp garam masala
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
150ml yoghurt
3 green chillies
big pinch of salt

For the sauce
2 onions
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 fresh red chillies
30g fresh coriander separated into stems and leaves
1tbsp ground coriander
2tbsps turmeric
1 tsp cardomom seeds
1/2tsp ground cloves
6tbsp ground almonds
1 chicken stock cube
1tbsp tomato puree
600g chopped tomatoes
1tsp sugar
50ml whipping cream
200g light coconut milk
yoghurt to serve


First of all marinate the chicken.


Toast the cloves, cumin and 1tbsp of the paprika and garam masala in a small frying pan over a hot heat to bring them back to life. Put them in a medium sized bowl alongside the zest and juice of one lemon, the crushed garlic, grated ginger, yoghurt and a big pinch of sea salt. Chop the chillies into medium sized chunks (they need to be able to go on a skewer, so not too small) and add them to the mix, and chop the remaining lemons and add them as well. Finally, cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and add them to the marinade. Mix it all together well, then cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I like to make the marinade in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day).



About an hour and a half before you want to eat, make the sauce.

First, fry the onions, garlic, red chillies and coriander stalks in oil over a medium high heat, until the onion is soft and golden. This should take around 15 minutes. (I fry them in a large saucepan which I then use for the rest of the process to save unnecessary washing up!) Add the ground coriander, turmeric, cardamom seeds, ground cloves and remaining tbsp each of paprika and garam masala. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the almonds and lightly toast them.


Mix in the tomato puree, and then add the chopped tomatoes.


Crumble in the stock cube, and add 250 ml boiling water. Mix, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 20 minutes.


Puree the sauce until it is smooth, then return to a medium heat. Add in the sugar and cream.


Thread the chicken onto skewers alongside the chillies and lemon, and cook under a very hot grill until golden.


Add the chicken and chillies to the curry, and squeeze in the lemon juice from the cooked lemons (use tongs for this, or wait for them to cool down before touching them!). Stir in any left over marinade and simmer for about 5 minutes.


Give it a taste and add seasoning and any extra spices you wish.

Garnish with coriander leaves.


Serve with fluffy rice and a dollop of yoghurt if you wish! I like to mix some coriander leaves into the yoghurt to make it tasty and pretty.



image image


As you can see, it went down very well!



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