Curry Night #01 The Hairy Bikers Chicken Tikka Masala review

Everyone loves a good curry night and although a takeaway is great sometimes, it is so much more satisfying to create your own and see everyone enjoy it. Once you have collected all the herbs and spices for the different flavours, it works out quite cheap to make and allows for plenty of leftovers for lunches or quick dinners. I wanted to try new recipes and learn more about spices, so I thought the best way would be to try lots of different recipes. I started with Hairy Bikers' Chicken Tikka Masala from their Great Curries book.

Ingredients

For the chicken:
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
a small piece of cinnamon sticks
½ tsp ground fenugreek seeds
1½ tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp hot chilli powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed
20 g fresh root ginger, grated
4 tbsp plain natural yogurt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
sunflower oil, for greasing

For the masala sauce:
4 tbsp ghee, or 2 tbsp softened butter and 2 tbsp sunflower oil
3 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
25 g fresh root ginger, finely grated
½ tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp double cream


1. For the chicken: Put the cumin and coriander seeds, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring regularly until lightly toasted – you know they’re ready when you can smell the wonderful spicy aroma. Tip everything into a pestle and mortar or electric spice grinder. Add the fenugreek, turmeric, paprika, chilli powder and a teaspoon of salt and grind everything to a fine powder.


2. Spoon 3 tablespoons of this spice mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the garlic, ginger and yoghurt. Stir the chicken pieces into the spiced yoghurt, cover with cling film and put them in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight. Set the remaining spice to one side.

3. For the masala sauce: Heat the ghee (or butter and oil) in a large non-stick saucepan and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, increase the heat slightly and stir in the rest of the powdered spices, plus the turmeric. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring regularly.

4. Stir in the tomato purée, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and fry for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 400ml cold water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes more, adding the cream for the last 30 seconds of the cooking time. Remove from the heat and blitz with a stick blender or in a food processor until you have a sauce that’s as smooth as possible. Pour this into a heatproof bowl, cover with cling film, cool and chill until you’re ready to cook the chicken.

5. Thread the chicken pieces on to lightly greased, long metal skewers. You should be able to fit about 6 chunks of chicken on to each skewer, leaving 1–2cm between each piece. Preheat the grill to its hottest setting and place the skewers on a rack over a grill pan lined with foil. Slide the pan on to a shelf, putting it as close as possible to the heat, and cook the chicken for 5 minutes. Turn each skewer, holding it with an oven cloth, and cook on the other side for another 4–5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and lightly charred.

6. While the chicken is grilling, tip the masala sauce into a large non-stick frying pan. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring regularly. Take the chicken skewers from under the grill and slide a fork down the length of each skewer to plop the pieces into the hot sauce. Stir well and bubble for a few seconds more. Serve hot with rice.

The chicken was delicious as it had a nice crisp edge in the creamy sauce. Instead of the cream at the end, we used more of the natural yogurt as it was already opened.
It was served with homemade naans, saag aloo and spring on bhajis (reviews to come later on the blog)

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