Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicken Tikka

It's been a while since I posted something curry-ish. Actually, it' been a while since I posted anything! (Sorree!) So here's a real treat - so fast and simple to make and yet spectacularly, sumptuously tasty with a fine kick in the tail. If you thought chicken tikka should consist of mildly tangy bits of chicken steeped in aniline dye and slapped onto a skewer before being grilled to death, here's another world view - these little kebabs are much more complex and a great deal more fun. This recipe bakes them, but you can always skewer them up and cook them on the barbecue.

One of the few 'cooks cheats' I allow to sneak guiltily into the store cupboard is a pot of pre-fried onions, which makes dishes like this a great deal faster. If you're going to be an ultra-purist, you'll have to finely slice an onion and then fry it gently in a little oil until it browns deeply - but doesn't burn. I prefer the pots myself...

How big are chicken cubes? For this recipe, and using local chicken breasts, I'll usually detach the little strip of meat with the tendon in it and use that for something else, lop off the tail end to about 2/3 of the length of the breast and then quarter the remaining meat to end up with five sort of similarly sized chunks of chicken.

I'm a sucker for serving this with plain basmati rice, a dal (or try this one!) and dry-fried Kerala poppadums, but a tomato salad with a smattering of fried spices is also great. I get my poppadums from the local cold store, where they're tickled to death by the Brit that eats pappad for some reason!


  • 500g chicken breast in cubes
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 4 cm fresh ginger, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 red bird's eye chilis, chopped
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 50ml cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp fried onions
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Sling everything but the chicken in the bowl of your blender, processor, whizzer or whatever you use. If you include the chicken at this stage, life is going to get pretty messy. Whizz it and then combine the mixture with the chicken to marinate - ideally overnight, but you can get away with shorter. Line a roasting tin with foil and give it a light brush of oil, then space the chicken chunks evenly on the foil, topping them up with any remaining marinade. Roast them in the middle of a 200C/400F/GM6 oven for 25 minutes or theareabouts, turn off the oven and leave them in for a further five minutes before serving.

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