Food snobs will roll their eyes to see a recipe for chicken tikka masala. It’s not an authentic Indian curry, is it? No-one in India actually eats it, do they?
But I really don’t care. Chicken tikka masala is one of my favourite dishes to order in an Indian restaurant. It’s so moreish and familiar and comforting. And I think it deserves its place as one of Britain’s favourite meals.
And it’s the restaurant style chicken tikka masala my husband recently decided he wanted to have a go at making at home. We came across a recipe by The Curry Guy, aka Dan Toombs, and Jason just had to give it a go.
Dan’s recipe is excellent and, if curry is your thing, I really recommend you try it. It’s a good family meal as it’s creamy and softly spicy rather than fiery hot. But it’s not a quick dish to throw together. If you want to make it the way they do in restaurants, there’s quite a lot of preparation involved.
But when it comes to preparation, my husband Jason is undoubtedly your man. He’s measured and methodical, whereas I am messy and impatient. At the end of one of my cooking sessions, you’d think a tornado had blown through the kitchen. But when Jason is in charge, order and serenity reign.
His first job was to make up a big batch of curry gravy, which Jason reckons took him about two hours. And when I say big, I mean big.
This sauce forms the basis of many of the curries you’ll come across in an Indian restaurant. Apparently you can use it to “make everything from mild kormas to violently hot phall curries in no time”.
Dan’s recipe makes enough gravy for eight curries and it freezes well. So one down, seven more to go! I’d quite like to give his recipe for madras a whirl next time.
Anyway back to the tikka masala. Once you’ve got the gravy, you then need to pre-cook your chicken. Again you can freeze this and use in a number of different chicken curry recipes.
However this time Jason decided to scale down the quantities (our freezer couldn’t take much more!) and made just enough for this one dish. This stage took around another hour.
So once you’ve got your gravy and your chicken, you’re then ready to bring these together with more spices and cream. This final stage takes another hour.
And – if you really want it to look like the chicken tikka masala you’d order in your curry house – you can also add a few drops of red food colouring.
So all in all, it’s quite a complicated recipe and it takes time. Jason spread the different stages out over three separate days. But it is worth it. It is exactly like a chicken tikka masala you’d have in a restaurant. Both our daughters, who are aged six and three, really enjoyed it too. We served it with cucumber raita just in case it was too hot for them, but the spice wasn’t a problem for either of them.
And we’ve now got lots of lovely gravy in the freezer all ready to transform into seven more curries in the coming weeks. Can’t wait!
If you’d like to give this chicken tikka masala recipe a try, you’ll find it here on Dan Toombs’ website.