Chicken Tikka Masala
Who doesn’t love chicken tikka masala! It is such a classic dish and a serious crowd pleaser. This recipe below is based on Chef Rohit Ghai’s version, which he serves in his gorgeous restaurant, Kutir, in London. Incorporating tender chicken tikka, marinated in aromatic spices and lovingly simmered in a velvety masala sauce. Each bite unveils a harmonious blend of rich tomato, fragrant spices, and creamy goodness, that will transport you South Asia. Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or a curious beginner, this recipe allows you to recreate the magic of Chef Rohit Ghai's renowned dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. It is the ultimate, showstopper Chicken Tikka Masala recipe.
Serves 4 portions
- 2 large dried bay leaves
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 12 cardamom pods
- 3 star anise
- 1/2 nutmeg seed, cracked into small pieces
- ½ blade mace, whole
- 4 cloves, whole
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorn
- 1½ Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 1½ Tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black onion seeds
- 6 chicken thighs (500g) boneless and skinless, cut into 3rds
- 1 Tbsp (15g) Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1½ Tbsp (20g) ginger, grated
- 1½ Tbsp (20g) garlic, grated
- 1 Tbsp (15g) lime juice
- 175g full fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 Tbsp (15g) mustard oil
- 1 tsp (0.5g) crushed Kasoori Methi (fenugreek) leaves
- 1 tsp (5g) garam masala
- 1 tsp Maldon sea salt
- Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
TIKKA MASALA SAUCE
- 70-80 gm vegetable oil, or other neutral oil
- 300g white onion, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1½ large onions)
- 1½ Tbsp ginger, grated (20g)
- 1½ Tbsp garlic, grated (13g)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
- Chicken stock, as needed
- 1 Tbsp green bird’s eye chilis, finely chopped
- 150g tomato purée (passata)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 50 gm double cream
- 50g French salted butter
- 1 Tbsp yogurt
- 1 Tbsp dry crushed kasoori methi leaves
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 1 Tbsp ginger, peeled, and julienned
- 3 tsp ginger, julienned to garnish
- Handful of coriander or mountain coriander
- Drizzle of cream
- First, make the garam masala. Clean the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks with a damp cloth to remove any dirt. Crack the cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces. Heat up a dry nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add in the cardamom pods, bay leaf, star anise, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. Toast the spices, mixing and tossing with a wooden spoon, for about 3-4 minutes until aromatic. Remove from the pot and place on a plate to cool.
- Add the coriander, fennel, and cumin seeds to the pan and roast until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the plate to cool completely. Place the cooled roasted spices into a spice grinder and blend until smooth. Place in an airtight container. Set aside.
- Next, make the chicken marinade. In a large bowl, mix all together the above ingredients, season well with the salt and pepper. Place in the chicken thighs and mix well, until the chicken is fully coated. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to marinate. Allow to marinate at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
- When the chicken is done marinating, make the tikka sauce. Preheat the oven to 177C /350F. Line a baking sheet tray with foil. Place the chicken pieces along with all of the yogurt marinade on the foil lined tray in a single layer. Place in the preheated oven, and bake for 15 minutes at 180C, then increase temp to 220C and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Meanwhile, place a large heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Drizzle generously with the vegetable oil and tip in the chopped onions. Sauté the onions with a sprinkle of sea salt, until dark brown and caramelized, stirring often. About 7-8 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic. Sauté until softened, another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook for 4-5 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Add a splash of chicken stock as necessary to prevent burning. Sauté the spices until fragrant.
- Add the fresh chilies, and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, let simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce thickens and becomes a deep brown red color.
- Add the garam masala. And cook another 2 minutes while stirring.
- Add the cooked chicken and all of the juices, using the foil to carefully tip in the liquid.
- Mix in the cream, butter, and yogurt. Stir sauce frequently, and cook additional 8 minutes until sauce is thick and bubbling. Add some more chicken stock to the sauce if it needs to thin out, as necessary. Add the kasoori methi, crushing it with your hands. Add the fresh coriander and fresh ginger. Mix to incorporate and garnish with a drizzle of double cream, coriander cress and julienned ginger.
- Serve immediately with spinach paratha bread (find recipe here) or rice.
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