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Chicken Tikka Masala


I love a good curry, and have recently discovered The Hairy Bikers’ Great Curries book, which has pretty much every curry and side dish you’d ever want to make in it! I have to say that now I’ve made my first one from scratch (yes, I’m happy to admit that!) I’m going to make them every time. Using fresh spices really makes a difference, and the effort is worth it. I’ve started with my favourite, this chicken tikka masala – look out for the saag aloo recipe today too, as I served that with the meal.

Serves 4


2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
small piece of cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground paprika
1/2 – 1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp flaked sea salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
20g chunk fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut into 7 or 8 pieces
sunflower oil for greasing skewers

for the Masala sauce

4 tbsp ghee (or 2 tbsp softened butter and 2 tbsp sunflower oil)
3 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
25g chunk of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp flaked sea salt
400ml cold water
2 tbsp double cream


1. Put the cumin and coriander seeds, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly until lightly toasted (you’ll know when they’re ready because you’ll smell the wonderful spicy aroma!).

2. Tip everything into a pestle and mortar and add the fenugreek, turmeric, paprika, chilli powder and salt, and grind everything to a fine powder.

3. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the garlic, ginger and yoghurt (set the rest of the spice mix aside for later). Mix thoroughly and add the chicken, stirring well. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.

4.To make the masala sauce, heat the ghee (or butter and oil) in a large non-stick pan and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, increase the heat slightly and stir in the rest of the spice mix plus the 1/2 tsp turmeric. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring regularly.

5. Stir in the tomato puree, sugar and salt and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes more, adding the cream for the last 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and blitz with a hand blender (we actually left it unblended, so do whatever you prefer!). If using later, transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with cling film and leave to cool before transferring to the fridge.

6. If you’re making the curry to serve straight away, leave in the pan on a low heat. Put the chicken pieces onto skewers and grill for 4 -5 minutes (or place them in another pan). Whatever the method, cook the chicken until it is cooked through and lightly charred. When cooked, transfer the chicken into the sauce and let everything bubble away for a couple of minutes.

7. Serve with rice and sides. Enjoy!

I served Chilli Chocolate Pots for dessert (once we had had a little rest after our curry feast!) – a super easy dessert that tastes amazing! Look out for the post tomorrow!

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