Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe (Photo Guide) No Expenses Spared!
The internet is full of recipes that claim to be ‘quick and easy’, or made ‘with only a few ingredients’. This is not one of those recipes. This recipe is made with one intention, and one intention only – Flavour.
I haven’t tried to save money, I haven’t tried to be healthy, and I haven’t tried to make it accessible. I wanted to truly see how tasty I could make this, and honestly, the array of flavours that hit my mouth as a consequence made it all worth it.
List of Ingredients (Serves 2 large portions)
For the chicken
- Fresh root turmeric (or powder if not)
- Natural yoghurt
- 2 Large chicken breasts
For the Masala gravy
- 5 White Onions
- 4 Tomatoes
- 1 Bell pepper (pick your favourite)
- Bunch of coriander
- Fresh root turmeric (or powder if not)
- Single cream
- Cumin Seeds
- 2 green cardamons
- 1 Black cardamon
- 2 Kashmiri chillis (or ground up powder)
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- Garam Masala
- 1 Green chilli
- Ground coriander
- Tomato Puree
- 1 Tbsp of brown sugar
Step by Step Guide:
Step 1) First things first, let’s get the chicken marinating. You need to do this the day before for best results if this isn’t possible at least an hour or two. Put 150ml of natural yoghurt into a bowl. Add 1 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder and 1tsp of garam masala to the yoghurt. Peel and grate the turmeric, garlic, and ginger in, then season with salt and pepper.
Mix it all up until you have a yoghurt based marinade with some colour to it, like below.
Step 2) Now we want to cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes. My butcher quite often provides quite large chicken breasts, so I slice them into two horizontally since they are usually too thick. I portion them into evenly thick pieces before cutting into 1 inch pieces. The more even you get them, the more evenly they’ll cook, making it easier to keep them juicy when you’re frying them.
Add the chicken to the marinade, cover with clingfilm, and into the fridge, it goes for the night.
Step 3) Soak your almonds in a small bowl of milk, just covering them.
Additional tip) There are two 10-15 minute breaks during this method which you can use to prepare other ingredients, however, you always do all the prepping before you get started.
Step 4) Add together 2 green cardamons, 1 black cardamon (if you can’t find black, use 4 green), 2 bay leaves, a stick of cinnamon, a few cumin seeds and 5 cloves to some oil.
Don’t blast the heat, we’re just trying to add heat to let the flavours flow out of these fresh ingredients. We don’t want to burn them, so just toast them. If you see the bay leaves go really dark, it’s too hot.
Step 5) Once you can smell the flavours coming out of those ingredients, and they’ve been in hot oil for a few minutes, add 4 of the onions chopped finely, and the green chilli (slice the green chilli open and remove the white membrane along with the seeds, unless you want your masala on the hotter side).
Let the onions cook on a low-medium heat until you see them browning and caramelising slightly.
Step 6) Now chop up the Kashmiri chillies, and some peeled garlic, turmeric and ginger (if you’re using turmeric powder, add it with the spices later). Add them to a pestle and mortar with some olive oil, give it all a good bash, and add to the pan.
Give it all good stir, keep the heat medium-low, cook out all those newly added flavours for a few minutes.
Step 7) Chop up the tomatoes, roughly. I find if you chop them too tomatoes (which I used to do), you lose a lot of the juices. Leave them slightly chunkier, and they’ll cook out. Add them to the pan, and put the lad back on, leaving it for another 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Step 8) While the tomatoes are cooking out. Let’s fry our chicken. Add some extra virgin olive oil to a heavy based pan, and sear them. Don’t overcrowd the pan, or they’ll sweat not fry. We want to see that caramelised colour, because that means flavour.
Step 9) You thought we were done adding flavour? Pffft. Now take your bunch of coriander leaves, finely chop the stalks and add them in, along with 3 tablespoons of tomato purée, a teaspoon of Garam Masala and half a teaspoon of turmeric. Stir it all in, put the lid back on, and leave for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 9) Now at this point, the smells should be amazing. The layers of flavours will all be coming together to make that an amazing array of taste. But we aren’t done, we need to cool the dish down slightly, and add that creamy, ever so slightly sweet taste we want with a Tikka Masala.
It should be looking like the image above. Now take your cashews in milk, and put them through a food processor along with a tbsp of brown sugar. If you don’t have a food processor, I recommend just adding a bit more cream when adding it all together afterward – and there we have it!
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