Chicken Tikka Masala is the poster child for British Indian cuisine and definitely tops the list of the nations favourite curry. CTM as it is popularly known as is also the top choice for a Friday Night takeway when ordering in Indian food.
Like any good curry, it’s best to use a home made marinade, so if you can spare some time, it’s best to make your own tikka curry paste. I made mine and here is a simple recipe that you can use. The quantity is enough to marinade 1 kilo of skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces. I used 5000 gm of chicken for my CTM so the rest is in my freezer and can continue to live there for at least 2 months – I don’t think it will though because am sure the craving for a curry can strike sooner rather than later. Actually the tikka paste can be used as a starter marinade for grilled chicken kebabs as that is what is the basis of a good CTM. Or can be used for marinating even meat or fish to grill or as part of a curry dish.
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 bay leaf
- Half a red chilli de-seeded
- 2 medium sized kashmiri chillies
- 2 heaped tsp ginger garlic paste
- 2 heaped tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp coriander and green chilli puree
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1 tsp roasted coriander seeds powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Salt as per taste
- In a small saucepan heat the oil.
- Reduce the flame to a minium then add the bay leaf and the dried red kashmiri chillies, which add flavour and colour and not heat.
- Then add in the ginger garlic paste. Stir for 30 seconds before adding in the garam masala, that will allow the ginger garlic paste to mix well with the hot oil but prevent it from drying up the oil.
- Once the garam masala is mixed well with the paste and the oil add the screaming dry spices and mix well. Allow to cook on a very low flame for under a minute and then add the coriander and green chilli puree. (Again I make my own puree – simply spitz 2 large bunches of fresh coriander leaves with two small Indian green chillies, add some water in a small food processor to make a thick puree. This can be frozen and used for many curries and sabzi’s or bhajee’s as we call them in Marathi.I store mine for upto 3 weeks)
- The smoked paprika will work with the chiken while making the curry and impart a fabulous smoky flavour that is hard to miss.
- Allow the paste to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it does not burn or become too dry.
- The water content in the coriander and green chilli mixture will totally dry out and you will be left with a dark reddish brown paste.
Like any marinade there are many things that been added or omitted according to one’s preferences. For example the red chilli can be eliminated to reduce the heat. A small pinch of sugar can be added to balance out the green chilli too. Also a small amount of water can be sprinkled to give the paste a more fluid consistency of required.
I use the dried kashmiri chillies and the bay leaf later in the curry base and did not purree the tikka paste further. Why? Because the garam masala already contains both these spices. After marinating the chicken with the paste, the same kashmiri chilli and the bay leaf can be added to the hot oil, to impart fragrance and colour.