Chicken Tikka Masala

I love this Indian dish that has its origins outside India. Having conquered the UK palate and overtaking fish and chips as the quintessential British dish, it is now increasingly available in restaurants in India and around the world. I still love the version available in London, which is where I first encountered it. I have tried to replicate that taste from memory as the pandemic has made travel well nigh impossible. The dish I made yesterday is my eureka moment. I have cracked the trick to making delicious, mouthwatering Chicken Tikka Masala.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

Boneless chicken breast 250 g

For marinade:

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Red chilli powder 2 tsps

Yoghurt 1/2 cup

Vinegar 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

For the curry:

Tomatoes 4 large

Onion 1 large, sliced thin

Ginger 1” piece

Garlic 5 cloves

Fresh cream 2 tsps

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder 1/2 tsp

Cumin powder 1/2 tsp

Biryani Masala 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Vegetable oil 3 tbsps

Butter 1 tsp

Method

Cut the chicken into cubes. Wash, drain and marinate in the ingredients given above.

Leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I leave it overnight as I feel it makes the chicken more succulent and allows the spices to permeate through the meat.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed wok and fry the chicken pieces for about 3-4 minutes till they are lightly browned. Keep it aside.

Add the butter to the oil and fry the onion slices till they are translucent.

Pound the ginger and garlic together in a pestle. Add to the pan. Sauté till the raw smell of the garlic disappears.

Purée the tomatoes in a blender. Add to the wok.

Cook till the water evaporates. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and biryani masala. I prefer the biryani masala instead of garam masala as it gives the gravy a tangy flavour.

Add 1 cup of water and add salt to taste. When the gravy comes to a boil, add the fried chicken cubes. Cook for 5-6 minutes till the gravy thickens.

Garnish with the cream and serve hot with basmati rice or naan or bread.

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