Chicken Tikka Masala

Indian kitchen tribute continues with Tika Masala, an English-Indian recipe that British settlers evolved to European tastes.



  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 heaped teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 heaped teaspoons garam masala
  • 3 lemons
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 6 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 800 g. skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 fresh green or yellow chillies
For the sauce
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies
  • 30 g. fresh coriander
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 6 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 800 g. tins of plum tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 800 g. tins of coconut milk


  • Put the cloves, cumin and 1 heaped teaspoon each of paprika and garam masala into a small pan and toast for 1 minute to bring them back to life, then tip into a large bowl.
  • Finely grate in the zest of 1 lemon, squeeze in all its juice, crush in the garlic, peel and finely grate in the ginger, and add the yoghurt and 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
  • Cut the chicken breasts into 5cm chunks, then massage all that flavour into the meat.
  • Skewer up the chicken chunks, interspersing them with lemon wedges and chunks of green or yellow chilli, but don't squash them together too much.
  • Place on a tray, cover with clingfilm and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
For the sauce,
  • Peel the onions and garlic, then finely slice with the red chillies and coriander stalks (reserving the leaves for later).
  • Put it all into a large casserole pan on a medium-high heat with a lug of oil and cook for around 20 minutes, or until golden, stirring regularly.
  • Add the ground coriander, turmeric and remaining 1 heaped teaspoon each of paprika and garam masala. Cook for 2 minutes, then add and toast the almonds.
  • Pour in the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube and add 300ml of boiling water.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk. Simmer for a final 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, then season to perfection.
  • When you're ready to cook the chicken, drizzle it with a little oil, then grill on a hot barbecue, in a screaming hot griddle pan or under a hot grill, turning until it's very golden and gnarly on all sides.
  • Slice the chicken off the skewers straight into the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes and serve with fluffy basmati rice.

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