For many - the chicken tikka masala is the ultimate comfort curry. It's spicy, creamy and so abundant in spices, that the result is a total taste explosion in your mouth! However - most online recipes call for cream, sugar, and the methods are incredibly complex.
Therefore, I have created for you my version of a healthy, easy chicken tikka masala, still packed with all the flavour and deliciousness. I still think marinating the chicken is an important step in the cooking process, so I would say that this is more of a weekend recipe, when you have more time on your hands. However, if you were to serve this to your friends at a dinner, there is no doubt that they will be seriously impressed. And the best thing - no more greasy takeaways!
For the chicken marinade:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into one-inch chunks
4 tbsp natural/Greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
10g ginger, grated
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
For the sauce:
8 garlic cloves, crushed
20g ginger, grated
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
Knob of butter
6 green cardamom pods
2cm cinnamon stick
400g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 small green chillies, split
4 tbsp natural/greek yogurt
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp garam masala
Small handful of coriander leaves, to serve
Marinating the chicken: This first step should ideally be done the night before. Grab a large bowl and add to it the yogurt, crushed garlic, ginger, lemon juice, salt, paprika, ground cumin, garam masala and chicken chunks. Stir well, cover and chill overnight.
Making the sauce: Crush the garlic and grate the garlic cloves. Place in a bowl to one side.
Heat the rapeseed oil, and knob of butter in a large non-stick pan. When hot, add the cloves, cardamon pods, and cinnamon stick. Once they have sizzled for 15 seconds, add the garlic and ginger. Cook on a medium heat for about a min or so - until all moisture has evaporated, and the garlic smells mellow.
Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and cook down until the oil starts to pool around the sides of the pan - about 20 mins on medium heat.
Then remove the whole spices. Add in 250ml water, bring to the boil and then grab a hand blender, and blitz until completely smooth. Place to one side.
Cooking the chicken: Heat your grill to the highest heat, and place the chicken chunks on a large baking tray lined with foil. Gril the chicken for 6-8 minutes on each side, until lightly browned, cooked through and charred in places. You want to check there is no trace of pink before removing from the grill.
Bringing it all together: Once the chicken is done, return the blitzed tomato pureed sauce to a large pan. Add the chicken pieces, green chillies, yogurt, paprika and garam masala. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then taste for seasoning.
Finish with a handful of chopped coriander.