Wednesday, October 20, 2010


One might think that the most popular dish in Great Britain is Fish and Chips, but with 18 tons consumed there each week, the national dish of Britain is actually Chicken Tikka Masala.

As popular as this curried chicken is, it is indeed not indigenous to the sub-continent, but was concocted by an Asian chef in London. Nonetheless; it is a delectably tasty treat often ordered at Indian restaurants; the most popular curry on their menus. I wonder how many people make it at home in the British Isles or here in the U.S.A? I’ve made it a few times, each time tweaking it, but still wanting to keep it authentic to the curry house favourite.

Even if you are unfamiliar with Chicken Tikka Masala, you are sure to love this stunning, spicy delight. You might already have all the required groceries on hand, or can easily obtain them. Millions of Britons can’t be wrong, so try this Tikka.

This is an adaptation of a Cook’s Illustrated recipe by Rebecca Hays.

For the chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¾ teaspoon ground coriander powder
¾ teaspoon ground cumin powder
1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
Cayenne pepper to your taste

For the yoghurt
1 cup of whole milk Greek yoghurt or regular whole milk
yoghurt plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh gingerroot

For the masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander powder
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon powdered ginger

For the sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh gingerroot
1 minced fresh chile
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tin (28ounce) tomatoes crushed by hand or in blender
2 ½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream


Combine the six chicken spices and salt in a small bowl.
Sprinkle all over the chicken and press in so it sticks.
Now put the chicken on a platter, cover loosely and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (up to an hour is ok).
In a large bowl, blend the yoghurt, oil (if using), garlic and gingerroot. Set aside.

Make the sauce by heating the butter and oil in a large Dutch oven over a medium flame.
Stir in the onion and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, gingerroot, chile and tomato paste plus the masala mixture and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt. Bring it to boiling, than simmer over a low flame for 15 minutes, stirring now and then. Now stir in the cream and return to simmer. Then remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

While the sauce is simmering, place rack in oven 6 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. With tongs, submerge the chicken breasts into the prepared yoghurt. Put the coated breasts (make sure they all have a nice coating) on a wire rack and place that in a broiler pan. (I have a cast iron skillet with a ridged bottom designed for broiling hamburgers which also works very well).

Broil the chicken about 7 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Look for a slightly charred but not scorched surface. Then turn over and cook the flip side the same way.

When the chicken is cooked, cut each breast into similar- sized chunks. When ready to serve, taste the sauce for salt, then place the chicken pieces (tikka) in the sauce, and serve right away. Serve over steamed rice. You can garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

If the list of ingredients seems a little off-putting, you could mix the masala blend and prepare the yoghurt the day before to save some time. This dish is really marvelous, no wonder it’s so deservedly cherished.


Foodie Ann said...

Chicken Tikka looks great...I like this recipe....

anthony stemke said...

Thank you for stopping by. I love your site and the photography is brilliant.

Sarah said...

fabulous pic of the chicken tikka masala! mouthwatering indeed!

anthony stemke said...

SARAH: Thanks for your lovely comment.

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