Anjum Anand's Chicken tikka masala

Make a day ahead to realise the full gamut of tantalising flavours in this great curry
By Anjum Anand
Anjum Anand's Chicken tikka masala
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus overnight marinating
  • Effort: medium


For the tikka marinade

  • 3-4 tsp lemon juice
  • 110 ml Greek yogurt
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, grated
  • 10 g fresh ginger, peeled weight, grated
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp red chilli, powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, for colour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin, powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the curry

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, slashed with a sharp knife
  • 20 g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 80 g butter
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 8 green cardamom, pods
  • 2 cm piece cinnamon sticks
  • 500 g vine tomatoes, puréed
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2-4 small green chillies, whole but pierced
  • 80-100 ml single cream
  • 1 tsp sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika, to taste
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves, crushed between your fingers to powder, if you have them
  • 1 tsp garam masala

To serve

  • small handful coriander leaves
  • naan bread or plain butter parathas


1. For the tikka marinade: mix together all the ingredients for the marinade, season with 1 teaspoon of salt then add the chicken and leave to marinate for as long as possible, preferably overnight, in the fridge, then bring back to room temperature before cooking.

2. For the curry: blitz together the ginger and garlic for the curry using a little water to help. Meanwhile, heat the oil and half the butter in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the whole spices and once they start to sizzle, add the ginger and garlic paste and cook until the moisture has evaporated and the garlic smells mellow and looks grainy, add the tomatoes and tomato purée and cook down until the resulting paste releases oil, it should take about 20 minutes. Now brown this paste over a gentle heat, stirring often, for 6-8 minutes or until it has darkened considerably. Pour in 250ml water, bring to a boil then pass through a sieve, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible from the tomatoes and spices. Discard the solids and set the liquid aside.

3. Heat the oven to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9, ideally with the grill on too, if you can do that. Place the chicken in a foil lined tray on the uppermost level in the oven and cook for 8 minutes or until slightly charred. Remove from the oven. The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce. Cut or pull the meat into large chunks.

4. Heat the remaining butter and add the green chillies. Add the sauce, some salt and a good splash of water and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken, cream, sugar, chilli powder and enough paprika to get a colour you like then add the fenugreek leaves and garam masala, simmer stirring often for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is done and the sauce is lovely and creamy, you may need to add a little more water. Taste and adjust the balance if need be by adding more salt, sugar or cream. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and serve with paratha.

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