For the tikka marinade:

  • 3 – 4 tsp lemon juice (depending on the tartness of the yogurt)
  • 100 g Greek yogurt
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and grated into a paste
  • 10 g fresh root ginger (peeled weight), grated into a paste
  • 0.25 – 0.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp paprika powder, for colour (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the curry:

  • 6 boneless chicken thighs
  • 20 g fresh root ginger, peeled weight
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 75 g butter
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 6 green cardamom pods (optional)
  • 2 cm cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 500 g vine tomatoes, blended to a fine purée
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 – 4 small green chillies, whole but pierced
  • 75 ml single cream, or to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar, or to taste
  • 0.25 – 0.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 rounded tsp dried fenugreek leaves, crushed to a powder (optional)
  • 1 small handful of coriander leaves, to serve


  1. 1

    Mix together all the marinade ingredients with 1 tsp salt. Add the chicken and marinate, preferably overnight, covered, in the fridge.

  2. 2

    Blend together the ginger and garlic for the curry, using a little water to help. Heat the oil and half the butter in a large nonstick saucepan and add the whole spices. Once they have sizzled for 15 seconds, add the ginger and garlic paste; cook until all 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 around 20 minutes. Now brown this paste over gentle heat, stirring often, for 6-8 minutes, or until it darkens considerably. Pour in 250ml water, bring to a boil, then pass through a sieve, pressing down to extract as much liquid and flavour as possible from the tomatoes and spices. Discard the solids. Set the sauce aside.

  3. 3

    Heat the oven to 240°C, fan 220°C, gas 9, ideally with the grill on too, if your oven can do that. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking tray on the uppermost shelf of 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. 4

    Heat the remaining butter and add the green chillies. Add the sauce, salt and a good splash of waterand simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken, cream, sugar, chilli powder and enough paprika to get a colour you like, then add the garam masala and the powdered fenugreek leaves, if using. 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 to your palate by adding more salt, sugar or cream. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and serve.


    Kitchen secret: taste carefully while you cook, as the sweet / sour balance of tomatoes changes with the season and variety. Do not use plum tomatoes; they're too sweet. Serve with naan or paratha.

Nutritional Details

Each serving provides
  • Energy 2901kj 693kcal 35%
  • Fat 48.3g 69%
  • Saturates 18.1g 91%
  • Sugars 8.6g 10%
  • Salt 0.8g 13%

% of the Reference Intakes

Typical values per 100g: Energy 674kj/161kcal

Each serving provides

11.6g carbohydrate 4.6g fibre 50.5g protein

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