Chicken Tikka Masala Curry

Is Chicken Tikkah Curry from India or Pakistan? Neither actually! This amazing curry, arguably, originated in Britain and was introduced by a British Indian living there since long. It was invented with an intention to create a curry by combining traditional South Asian spices with modern English cuisine to better suite British taste palates i.e., mild. Over the decades, the dish has won hearts of millions.

During a casual conversation about Gordon Ramsay with Summayyah khan, she mentioned that he has also made this dish. Obviously, I had to see the video. After watching the video I couldn’t agree more with Summayyah. It was a perfect recipe and my search stopped right there. After all, someone as experienced, in international cuisine, as Gordon Ramsay must have done his research before coming up with a recipe.

The recipe is prepared in two parts 1) by marinating the chicken with tikkah masala and flavoring it with coal for the smoky flavor and 2) preparing a smooth silky masala curry with onions, tomatoes, yogurt and curry leaves.

Here is my twist to the recipe. I made my homemade tikkah masala which was a big leap for me. I came out of my comfort zone and prepared a masala mix at home instead of using the ready to go packet masala. The most challenging task was to find a good recipe for making the blend of spice mix at home from an ocean of recipes available online. At the end of the day its all about balance of flavors. It is prepared by using a mix of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, amchoor powder, turmeric powder, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, Kashmiri red chilli, black pepper. In addition to our traditional spices, I added lemon grass which adds freshness and a zesty flavor to the spice mix. It enhances and binds all the spices together into a royal treat of flavours for your taste buds. Also, I stored the spice mix in the fridge as I used fresh lemon grass in it and there are no preservatives in it. This increases the shelf life for the spice mix.

Here is a super easy and delicious recipe for Chicken Tikkah Masala Curry. Be creative and use the same recipe for creating paneer, mushroom or even fish tikkah masala curry.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 mins 
Serving: 2-3 persons

Recipe: Homemade Tikkah Masala Mix

  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Amchoor powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Cloves- 5
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
  • Black Cardamom – 1
  • Star anis – 1
  • Kashmiri red chilli – 1 teaspoon
  • Dry roasted red chilies – 10 pieces
  • Black pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon grass – ½ teaspon
  • Gur – 1 teaspoon

Method:

Blend all the spices together in a grinder. If you are using fresh lemon grass, first chop it finely with a knife and then blend it with spices.

Recipe: Chicken Tikkah Masala Curry

  • 2 Chicken Boneless chicken breast or thigh pieces cut into cubes – 250 to 300 gm
  • Onions – 1 medium
  • Garlic Ginger Paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Green Chilies – 2 roughly cut into half
  • Salt – ¾ teaspoon
  • Red Chili Powder – ¾ teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Garam Masala Powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Tomatoes – 4 medium tomatoes, purred (skin removed) / 200 gm
  • Sugar – ½ teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – 8
  • Yogurt – 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves – for garnish

Method:

  • Cut chicken pieces into small cubes and marinate it with 2 – 3 tbsp of homemade tikkah masala mix.
  • For the smoky flavor: Heat a piece of coal and place it in chicken bowl over a piece of foil, carefully. Pour one or two drops of oil and coal will release smoke. Immediately cover with a lid. Let the chicken marinate for at least one hour before cooking.
  • Heat 2 tbsps oil in a large pan. Sauté sliced onions. Once slightly pinkish, add chopped garlic, ginger and green chili and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add salt, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala and sugar. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, stir and cook until the tomatoes are tender and oil starts to separate at the ends.
  • Once the masala is bhounfied well, blend it in a food processor or with hand blender until smooth.
  • Pour it back to the pan and let it simmer; add the marinated and smoked chicken into this simmer curry.
  • Add curry leaves and stir in yogurt. Bhounfy the masala well until oil separates. Simmer on dam flame for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.
  • Garnish with the fresh coriander leaves.

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