Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Chicken Tikka Masala

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I know  . . .  Tuesday is not normally curry night, but I was asked to bring a meal over to a family this week and so I made a Chicken Tikka Masala for them because it was something I could make enough of that it would also feed Todd and myself, and it would be easy to transport.   OH, and not forgetting it's delicious!

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Not surprisingly, Curry is one of the most popular dishes here in the UK.   There was a program on the telly a few years ago where they did a run down of the top ten food dishes in the UK, and Curry was the second most popular dish, second only to fish and chips.

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Chicken Tikka Masala was one of the first dishes I learned to make when I went to Culinary School.  I took an NVQ for chef when I first moved over here.  Our instructor was the head chef at the Queen's Hotel here in Chester at the time.

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I actually learned how to make a basic chicken curry back in the 1970's when I was living in Suffield, Alberta.  Suffield was the British Army Training base for the British in Canada and I had a lot of friends who were from the UK.  My friend Cathy Giles, who was from Manchester originally I believe, taught me how to make a fabulous Chicken Curry.  I fell in love with it then and have loved it ever since.

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 I had no idea that there were so many kinds of curry however, until I moved over here.  I just thought a chicken curry was a chicken curry, but they come in many different varieties and strengths.  Dishes called "curry" may contain fish, meat, poultry, or shellfish, either alone or in combination with vegetables. Additionally, many instead are entirely vegetarian, eaten especially among those who hold ethical or religious proscriptions against eating meat or seafood.

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Curries may also be either "dry" or "wet". Dry curries are cooked with very little liquid which is allowed to evaporate, leaving the other ingredients coated with the spice mixture. Wet curries contain significant amounts of sauce or gravy based on yoghurt, cream, coconut milk, coconut cream, legume purée (dal), or broth.  This curry today is a "wet" curry of a medium strength of heat.

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Chicken tikka masala is a dish of pan roasted chunks of chicken in a spicy sauce. The sauce is usually creamy, spiced and orange-coloured, from the tomatoes that are in the dish. It was almost certainly invented in Britain and is among the country's most popular dishes, leading a government minister, Robin Cook, to claim in 2001 that it was a British national dish.

So now you know it all.  I sure hope that they enjoyed their supper.  I know Todd and I did.   I adapted it from a recipe by Jamie Oliver and it's delicious.

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*Jamies Tikka Masala*
serves  4-6

They did a survey a couple of years ago on the telly about the top ten food dishes in the UK, and Curry was within the top two, second only to fish and chips.  No suprise there.  This tikka masala is a recipe I adapted from one of Jamie Oliver's.  Its (as he would say) pukka! 

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch sized chunks
2 medium brown onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 fresh red chili, trimmed, deseeded and finely chopped
a thumb sized knob of fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely sliced
a small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)
vegetable oil
a knob of butter
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
tikka masala paste (140g or see recipe below) (2/3 cup)
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice, undrained (14 1/2 ounce tin)
1 400g tin of coconut milk (14 1/2 ounce tin) 

To serve:
1 lemon, cut into wedges
200g natural yogurt (very scant cup)
cooked rice
a small handful of flaked almonds 

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Separate the coriander leaves from the stems  Coarsely chop the leaves and set aside.  Finely chop the stalks.  Heat a large skillet  (I use my electric one) to medium/high heat.  Add about 2 TBS oil and the butter.  Add the onions, red chilli, ginger and coriander stalks.   Cook for 10 minutes until softened and golden brown.  Add the curry paste and chicken chunks.  Stir to coat with the paste and veg.  Cook for a few minutes.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Add the tomatoes and coconut  milk.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, with the lid on.  Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the meat is tender and cooked through, taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Serve hot with fluffy or pilau rice along with a few spoonfuls of yogurt spooned over top and some toasted flaked almonds, the chopped coriander leaves, and a lemon wedge on the side for squeezing over top.

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To make your own Tikka Masala Curry Paste 

Spices for toasting:
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp whole coriander seeds

You will also need:
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
a thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBS smoked paprika
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp peanut oil
2 TBS tomato puree
2 fresh red chilies, deseeded and chopped
a small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 TBS unsweetened dessicate coconut
2 TBS ground almonds 

Place a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the spices for toasting.  Lightly toast in the dry skillet until they are golden brown and quite fragrant.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Remove the toasted spices into a small food processor and grind fine.  Add the remaining ingredients and whiz to a paste.

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Speaking of Jamie Oliver, I got this really nice Cheese Knife the other day from Next Day Catering.   It matches my other knives that I have. The  Jamie Oliver Cheese Knife JB7110 has ull tang Japanese MoV stainless steel blades.

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Its chunky bolster provides superb balance and extra weight for easy chopping and slicing. It has a sculpted handle design for maximum comfort and the knife name is engraved on the end of it for easy identification in a knife block. Right  now it's on sale for £11.94.  You can find it here.

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Another product I've been using which I really like  is this Colour Works Soft Touch Grinding Mill.

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This stylish twin handled rocking mill by Colourworks in striking Pink is ideal for tabletop and kitchen use for grinding either salt or pepper. With a highly durable ceramic grinding mechanism and soft touch handles, the mill is easy and comfortable to use and even has a quirky rocking motion as an added feature!  I got this from Next Day Catering Equipment also.

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 I also got this really nifty Crinkle Cutter by Kitchen Craft (again from Next Day Catering).

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It has a twelve month guarantee and is dishwasher safe.  I love the way it cuts carrots with ease into crinkle shapes and is perfect for making crinkle cut chips!

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 I was also sent this lovely Dual Purpose Roaster with Lid.  .  Heavy Duty, non stick, commercial weight it is dishwasher safe and serves a dual purpose.  You can use the base as a baking dish for baking brownies, cakes, lasagne, etc.

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Also self-basting roasts when used with the lid.  The lid is also ideal for baking biscuits and flapjacks, or for grilling and roasting.

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I used the bottom part the other night to cook a peach cobbler when we had guests over for supper.

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 It went down a real treat with my guests, and I had the handy lid to just cover over any leftovers afterwards. You can find that recipe here.

All of these items can be purchased at Next Day Catering, a leading online catering supplier providing a range of high quality catering equipment and hotel supplies in in the UK. They have been the UK’s favourite catering suppliers for 20 years now, supplying quality products from top name brands including KitchenAid, Dualit, Panasonic, Samsung Victorinox and more. Their next day catering supplies are used across the UK by bars, hotels, restaurants, cafés, bed and breakfasts, schools, office canteens, bistros and other professional kitchens and hospitality businesses.  With a quick delivery,  great prices, and a full stock selection, they are my first port of call when it comes to finding the right tools to do what I love to do, and that is  . . .  cook.


  1. Oooo...Y-U-M-M-Y! I love a curry! And it is so amazing how many different kinds of curry & spice mixed for making curry there are. Can never go wrong with a Tikka Masala. I have saved a couple recipes for an Indian-style Butter Chicken for the slow cooker I'd like to try. It being winter, spicy & warming is so good just now! Happy Week, my friend :) ((LOVE & HUGS))

    1. This was really good Tracy. Not too spicy! Winter and comfort foods go together like peas and carrots! Happy week to you, TJ and Charlie also!Love and hugs. xo

  2. I have never made one..I have no excuse now:) Fun stuff! I have a little crinkle cutter..they are fun:)

    1. Crinkle cutters are a lot of fun! You need to make a curry Monique! I bet J would like it! Todd loves them! Xo


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