I have to confess that a few years ago my knowledge of Indian food was weak to say the least. Truth be told I couldn’t tell a butter chicken from a tandoori chicken. London has an incredible array of Indian restaurants (If you haven’t been to Gymkhana you HAVE to go) so after living here for 8 years, I finally know my way around a curry menu.
One of my favourite Indian dishes is tikka masala, with tender chicken and a creamy tomato sauce that’s packed with spices, there is no shortage of flavour in every bite. Besides the flavours, I also love that it isn’t a heavy and rich curry like other Indian dishes (ahem, butter chicken).
There are two components to a tikka masala, the tender chunks of chicken which are marinated in coconut milk and a mix of spices and then cooked quickly in the oven. I marinated the chicken for 48 hours which resulted in pieces that literally melted in my mouth they were so tender, but you don’t have to marinate it for that long and could reduce the time to 4 hours if need be. The other component to this dish is a rich tomato and coconut based sauce that will have you licking every last drop from the bowl, it’s so good.
I served this with cauliflower rice to absorb the sauce. To make the rice place chunks of cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it’s all broken into rice sized pieces. Cook the rice in a large frying pan on medium heat with a tablespoon of vegetable and pinch of salt for 5 or so minutes until tender. There is no need to season the rice more as it will become full of flavour when it absorbs the sauce.
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- ½ can coconut milk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp gram masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp gram masala
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 2 cups canned tomatoes, drained (approx 2 oz cans)
- 1 tbsp honey (or other sweetener)*
- 400ml can coconut milk
- freshly chopped cilantro (optional)
- In a zip loc bag combine the cubed chicken along with all of the ingredients for the marinade. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to broil and thread the chunks of chicken onto 2-3 skewers. Place the skewers on a tin foil lined baking sheet and place in the oven to broil for 4 to 5 minutes per side until golden in colour.
- In a pot sautee the onion, garlic and ginger in vegetable oil on medium heat. Once the onions have softened add in the spices and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
- Drain the tomatoes and place them in a blender along with the spiced onion and ginger mixture. Pulse until smooth and then return everything to the pot.
- Add in the honey and coconut milk and allow to simmer for 20 minutes adding in the chicken half way through.
- Once the chicken is warmed and the sauce has thickened, serve the curry on cauliflower rice and sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro.