I LOVE a good chicken tikka masala, it’s my favourite curry by far, but there are so many crap restaurants out there, and here in Oxford in particular I find most of them pretty awful – the kind of thing that comes in a neon red/pink sauce and tastes horribly sweet and you can’t even imagine what ingredients might have been used….
However I found a few years ago a really good Jamie Oliver recipe which makes curry for about 20 people, and today I decided to try a slightly different version which serves 4 (a different but similar Jamie Oliver recipe) and it was A-MAZING.
Like, properly the best curry I’ve ever made – DELICIOUS.
His original recipe is here, I have just written it out here for your convenience with a few notes – try it, you won’t be sorry!
For the tikka masala paste:
- 1-2 fresh red chillies
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 5 cm piece of ginger, peeled
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (i substituted a small teaspoon of ground cumin)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (I used a small teaspoon of ground coriander)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (used ordinary chilli powder here)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika – (yes I also had to double-check – it’s a TABLESPOON)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 tablespoons groundnut oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 1 bunch of fresh coriander
- ½ tablespoon desiccated coconut
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
For the curry:
- 4 skinless free-range chicken breasts
- 2 onions
- 5 cm piece of ginger
- ½ a bunch of fresh coriander
- 1 fresh red chilli
- groundnut or vegetable oil
- 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
- ½ x 400g tin of light coconut milk (I used a whole tin of coconut milk as I can never use the rest and it goes to waste)
- 1 small handful of flaked almonds
- fat-free natural yogurt (optional for serving)
- 1 lemon
To make the curry paste: Chuck everything into a food processor with 1/2 teaspoon salt and whizz it all up. (Jamie’s official version involves toasting seeds and grinding them in a pestle and mortar but who has the time? It was totally delicious using pre-ground spices).
I might also make up a load of curry paste sometime and freeze it so I can make this more easily next time around.
- Chop the chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks.
- On a clean chopping board, peel, halve and finely slice the onions. Peel and finely slice the ginger, then pick the coriander leaves and put to one side, finely chopping the stalks along with the chilli.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole pan/wok over a medium-high heat, add the onions, chilli, ginger and coriander stalks, then cook for around 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly golden.
- Add the chicken and 140g of the tikka masala paste, stirring well so everything is nicely coated. (I found it hard to weigh the paste and work out how much was there, so just used it all, probably closer to 200g, but I also used the whole can of coconut milk which I think is easier than having a leftover spoon of random paste or half a can of coconut milk kicking about – too wasteful when you live on your own!). Season with salt and black pepper, add the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a spoon, and the coconut milk, then bring to the boil.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the sauce has reduced, stirring occasionally. (Note I simmered for longer with the lid off to reduce it as I had used extra coconut milk. Also I added some extra ground almonds for texture, prob a tablespoon or so, but that’s up to you. I also squeezed half a lemon straight into the curry instead of serving it with lemon wedges a la Jamie.)
- Serve with fluffy rice, and sprinkle over the flaked almonds and coriander leaves. Add a dollop of yoghurt or Raita. You could also serve with Daal on the side.
I could eat this forever – YUM…