CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
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This chicken tikka masala is packed with flavour thanks to the chargrilled chicken and plenty of mild spices.

Chicken tikka masala on basmati rice with coriander, cucumber and shallot.

Tikka masala is my go-to curry when getting takeout or eating at an Indian restaurant. It feels a wee bit healthier and more adventurous than butter chicken, and is always a reliable choice!

This homemade version uses no pre-made sauces or pastes, giving a much more authentic taste. The ingredients list may look a little daunting, but they are all common ingredients and the recipe is straightforward.

I’ve added some extra veggies (as usual!) , but you can leave these out if you prefer. Add a side of naan bread, preferably cheese and garlic, and you’ve got yourself a deliciously indulgent fakeaway.

 

Curry, curry and more curry. Yum!

 

I’m not a very experienced rice cooker (I have a guilty habit of using microwave pouches) but the method below for basmati rice seems to yield really good results. If you notice your rice is extra starchy you can rinse it first, but add a couple of tablespoons less water to the saucepan.

 

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Chicken tikka masala on basmati rice with coriander, cucumber and shallot.

CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

Keyword: CHICKEN, MAIN MEALS
Difficulty: Easy
Ready In: 55 minutes
Serves: 4

Chicken tikka masala is my go-to curry when ordering takeout or eating at an Indian restaurant. It’s packed with flavour thanks to the chargrilled chicken and plenty of mild spices.

QUICK PRINT

Ingredients

SPICE MIX

  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cracked pepper

CHICKEN

  • 600 g boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1lb 5oz)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yoghurt (125ml)
  • 1 Tbsp crushed ginger
  • 1 Tbsp rice bran oil

CURRY

  • 1 large red capsicum
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp rice bran oil
  • 1 Tbsp crushed ginger
  • 550 g tomato passata (1lb 3oz)
  • 1 1/4 cups water (310ml)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream (125ml)
  • 60 g baby spinach (2.1oz)

TO SERVE

  • 1 1/3 cups basmati rice (165g)
  • 2 cups water (500ml)
  • 1/2 telegraph cucumber
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 large handfuls fresh coriander (optional)

Instructions

  1. MAKE SPICE MIX

    Stir all spice mix ingredients together in a small bowl.

  2. PREPARE CHICKEN

    Dice chicken into 2-3cm / 1in cubes. Crush garlic. Stir garlic, yoghurt, ginger, oil and half the spice mix together in a medium bowl. Stir in chicken.

  3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan on high. Add chicken (you may need to do this in batches) and cook for 2 minutes, until lightly charred. Turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

  4. COOK CURRY

    Dice or slice capsicum, finely dice onion, crush garlic. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a large non-stick pot on medium-high. Add capsicum, onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in remaining spice mix and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken, passata, water and sugar and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. PREPARE SERVING INGREDIENTS

    Meanwhile, place rice and water in a medium non-stick pot on high. Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and cook for 12 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Leave to rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes.

  6. Dice cucumber and shallot. Roughly chop coriander.

  7. SERVE

    Stir cream, remaining tablespoon butter and spinach into curry until melted and wilted. Stir rice with a spatula and divide between individual serving bowls or plates. Top with curry and sprinkle cucumber, shallot and coriander over the top.

Recipe Notes

WINE MATCH: A Riesling or Pinot Gris.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: This meal is naturally gluten-free.
INGREDIENT SWAPS / NOTES: This curry is fairly mild and family-friendly. If you like a spicier curry, add a little cayenne pepper or chilli powder to the spice mix. Don’t be tempted to use chicken breasts instead of thighs - they will dry out when charred, and the results just aren’t the same! You can adjust the amount of sugar according to your tastes (some passatas are more acidic than others too). You can leave off the toppings if you prefer, or try a dollop of yoghurt on top instead. Naan bread or roti also make a delicious accompaniment!
MAKE AHEAD: Chicken can be marinated in yoghurt mixture (refrigerated) for up to 48 hours before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
STORING AND REHEATING: For lunches, store individual portions in containers in the fridge and reheat in the microwave. Add toppings just before serving. Alternatively, store curry and rice separately. Reheat curry on the stovetop or in the microwave. Reheat rice in microwave.

 

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