I have to say, there is nothing more satisfying than the smell of a made from scratch chicken tikka curry at home. The mix of spicy, sweet and tangy flavours, tantalising aromas and vibrant colours of this well-made chicken curry dish unmistakably quicken your senses.
Authentic Indian food can be made at home with ease and it need not be an overwhelming experience. The secret is in the correct use of spices and following a two-step process of tenderizing and “blooming”.
Spices do have a shelf life, and therefore it is important to purchase spices from a reliable source. I always trust Spice & Co to deliver fresh, quality herbs and spices, free from enhancers and free from any hidden nasties. If you like the convenience of purchasing from home, you can have their 100% Australian product delivered to your door by visiting Spice & Co’s online shop.
Take a quick glance of the quick picture I took (untouched) of Spice & Co’s turmeric and paprika. Have you not seen anything livelier, brighter and fresher.
So now that we have sorted where to buy your spices from, let us get to the recipe. The recipe below will yield an authentic fragrant and flavourful chicken tikka curry.
What makes Chicken Tikka special and so popular in the western world, is the distinct two-step cooking process.
The first step is the tenderizing. This is done by creating a yoghurt spice-infused marinade for the chicken pieces. The yoghurt acts to tenderize the meat all whilst the chicken is infused with the distinct base spice flavours.
Blooming spices in oil
The next step is learning the importance of blooming your spices in oil. This will take your dish to the next level. Heating the spices in the oil releases the flavour contained within the spices and also helps to distribute the flavour throughout your dish. The flavours are locked in with the oils, so adding to the sauce without blooming, won’t release those flavours.
Keep an eye on your ground spices as they are cooking in the oil, it doesn’t take long for them to scorch.
This recipe will show you how to cook a simple chicken curry and it truly will be the best chicken curry recipe you will have made.
- 1 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt)
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons curry madras medium
- 1 teaspoon tikka masala
- 1kilo chicken thigh and tenderloins cut into cubed pieces
- 6 cardamom pods
- 125ml coconut milk
- 2 cups basmati rice steamed
- Combine all the dry ingredients listed under chicken marinade, and whisk in the yoghurt and lemon juice.
- Add chicken and rub the marinade into the chicken pieces.
- Cover with glad wrap or in a sealed container and allow the marinade to do its magic for 60-90 minutes.
- Heat oil in a large pan. Add the onions, mustard seeds and cardamom pods. At this point you will start to notice what your making is going to be flavour set to full full throttle.
- Add the sweet parika, madras powder and tikka masala. Stir through the oil and onion mix for 30 seconds. You will know when the spices are activated as almost instantly you will be hit with their aromas. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- On the same pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add the chicken pieces. Turn over, when the chicken on the heat side is golden in colour and sealed. Wait until the second side is sealed.
- Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, then add 2 cups water and simmer with the lid mostly on, until fully reduced and the chicken is tender. The amount of time, this takes depends on your heat and chicken pieces.
- Add coconut milk and simmer for a further 10 minutes. This is an optional step, and adds to the creaminess.
- Serve with steamed basmati rice.
Add the reserved spice base, then the blended tomatoes and tomato paste.
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