British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook commented: “Chicken Tikka Massala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences. Chicken Tikka is an Indian dish. The massala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy.” There are dozens and dozens of recipes for this dish, but this one is typical. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation. From Dave DeWitt’s book, A World of Curries, available here.
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 3 tsp minced ginger
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
- 1/2 tsp hot red chile powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 lbs boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- melted butter for basting
The Tikka Sauce
- 3/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 green chilies, such as serranos, seeds and stems removed, minced
- 1 tbsp red chile powder
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 8 green cardamoms
- salt to taste
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2/3 cup cream
- 1 tsp ground fenugreek
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- honey to taste, if needed
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the chicken except the chicken and melted butter and mix well. Add the chicken and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
- The next day, allow the chicken to come to room temperature and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the chicken for 8 minutes, basting with the butter twice. Drain the excess marinade and bake for another 2 minutes. Turn off the oven but don’t remove the chicken.
- To make the sauce, heat 4 cups of water in a pot and add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chiles, chile powder, cloves, and cardamoms and cook over medium heat until reduced to a thick sauce. Strain the sauce, adjust the salt, and return it to the heat. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add the butter, cream fenugreek, and ginger and stir. If the sauce tastes too sour, add honey to taste.
- On each plate, serve the chicken and spoon the sauce over it.
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Publisher | Christened the "Pope of Peppers" by The New York Times, Dave DeWitt is a food historian and one of the foremost authorities in the world on chile peppers, spices, and spicy foods.
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