How to cook chicken tikka masala?

Tikka masala is a ubiquitous dish, so much so that nobody is quite sure where the concept and recipe originated. Whether it was India or the UK, there’s no denying that it is a delicious curry.
Chicken tikka masala. Photograph: Kris Kirkham

Serves 4
  • natural yogurt 250g
  • garam masala 3 tbsp
  • ground coriander 2 tbsp
  • ground ginger 2 tbsp
  • ground cumin 1 tbsp
  • smoked paprika 2 tsp
  • garlic 6 cloves, crushed to a paste
  • fresh ginger 5cm piece, peeled and grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chicken breasts 6, chopped into 4cm pieces
  • sunflower or vegetable oil 4 tbsp
  • onions 2, peeled and pureed in a food processor or grated
  • cloves 6
  • tomato puree 2 heaped tbsp
  • chopped tomatoes 1 x 400g tin
  • double cream 100ml
  • flaked almonds 75g, toasted, to serve
  • coriander 1 small bunch, chopped, to serve
Place half the yogurt in a large bowl along with half the ground spices and half the garlic and ginger. Add a generous pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Mix well with a spoon until you reach a smooth consistency.
Add the chicken pieces to the marinade coating them well, then cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of 4 hours but preferably overnight.
When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the pureed onion to the oil along with a large pinch of salt. Leave to cook, stirring regularly for 12-15 minutes, by which time the onions should have taken on some colour and become very soft. Add the cloves and the remaining ground spices, garlic and ginger. Continue to fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
Add the tomato puree and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Increase the heat and add the tinned tomatoes and marinated chicken. Stir all the ingredients while bringing them to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked through. If unsure, pick out the thickest piece and cut it open to check. It’s cooked when the flesh is white throughout.
Stir in the double cream for a little luxury before serving topped with the toasted almonds and chopped coriander.