Probably created in Britain, chicken tikka masala-or CTM as it is often called-is easily the most popular Indian curry in the UK today.
675g boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp peeled, finely grated root ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
6tbsp whipping cream
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
For the masala:
4 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
140g onions, halved and finely sliced
1 tbsp peeled, finely grated root ginger
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp paprika
4 tbsp yogurt
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and very finely chopped
350ml chicken stock
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1) Start by marinating the chicken tikka. Put the chicken in a non-reactive bowl and rub in the salt and lemon juice. Prod the chicken pieces lightly with the tip of a knife and rub the seasonings in again, then set aside for 20 minutes. Add the ginger,garlic,cumin,paprika,chilli powder, cream and garam masala. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for six to eight hour.
2) When you’re ready to cook, make the masala: pour the 4tbsp of oil into a large lidded pan and set it over a medium -high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the onions. Stir and fry until they brown, six or seven mins. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to fry, stirring, for a minute. Add the ground coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and paprika. Stir for 10 seconds, then add a tbsp of yogurt. Stir and fry until it is absorbed. Add the remaining yogurt in this way, a tbsp at a time.
3) Now put in the tomatoes. Fry them for three or four minutes, or until they turn pulpy. Add the stock and salt, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should turn thick. Stir in the garam masala and coriander leaves, taste for balance of seasonings and add more salt if you need it.
4) Shortly before you eat, preheat the grill to its highest setting. Thread the chicken on to two to four skewers. Brush with the 3 tbsp of oil and balance the skewers on the rim of a shallow baking tray, so that the meat is suspended and does no touch the tray. Place about 13 cm from the source of heat and grill for six mins on each side, or until lightly browned, cooked through and charred in places.
5) When the tikkas are cooked, reheat the sauce and fold in the chicken. Serve immediately.