Farewell Curry Club With Chicken Tikka Masala

Last week was the final installment of The Curry Club Series 1. Since this marked the finish line, it made sense to do it strong with the U.K’s national pride ‘ Chicken Tikka Masala’.

Exceptional Chicken Tikka Masala is an off-shoot of India’s classic dish ‘butter chicken’. Butter chicken rightfully get’s its name from it’s key ingredient ‘butter’. Pieces of chicken are marinated in spices and lots of butter, rendering it tender and moist. The chicken is BBQ’d in a clay oven, being constantly basted in jus de love (yes, more butter) and then finished in a delicately spiced creamy tomato sauce. This dish made its way to the British stomach through migration (Brits in India and the Indians in Great Britain).  The main difference is in its name change and consistency because as we know, we Brits love our gravy.

Whilst the ingredient list may appear long, do muster up the courage as this is one of the easier curries to make. I assure you that if you stick with me, we will use various elements of this dish over and over again, besides, you could always throw in a dash of ‘this and that’ in to your soups, pastas and casseroles.

A bowl of Chicken Tikka Masala with a buttery sauce that clings to every nook and cranny of chicken will kick the blues out of any rainy day. Sit back and relax with your pint of beer because this experience will be ‘jolly good’.



  • 2 lb. Chicken Skinless Thighs


  • 1 TBSP. ginger, minced
  • 1 TSP. garlic, minced
  • ¾ Tsp. Salt
  • ½ TSP. chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • ½ TSP. Garam Masala
  • ½ TSP Pepper
  • 1 TSP. smoked paprika (must be smoked as it adds a flavor characteristic of chicken tikka masala)
  • 1 TSP. ground cumin
  • 1 TSP. roasted and ground coriander seeds
  • 2 TBSP. lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 TBSP. clarified butter


  • 1 TBSP. cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped TSP. Kasturi Methi – Available at Indian or Persian (called sabzi gormeh) grocery stores
  • ½ TSP. turmeric
  • 2 TSP. ginger
  • 1 TSP. garlic
  • 1 TBSP. roasted, skinned and de-seeded red bell pepper puree (you can purchase jarred roasted and skinned red peppers in oil or brine, just remove the seeds)
  • ¾ of a can (14 oz) tomato sauce
  • ½ TSP. black pepper
  • 1 TBSP. lemon juice
  • ¾ TSP. sugar
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 4 oz piece of butter (cold to swirl at the end)
  • Garnish: cilantro



1)Place chicken in mixing bowl with salt, pepper, ginger, garlic, lemon juice and spices for 6-12 hours

2)Remove from refrigeration and marinate in sour cream and clarified butter. Marinade for at least 4 hours

3)Remove from refrigeration and allow meat to lose it’s chill. Thread through skewers and broil/ grill on high heat basting with marinade sauce frequently throughout. Cook through completely – Cool on wire racks. Remove thigh bone


4)Set aside a sauce pan and reduce heavy cream to half

5)Heat oil in a pan, fry cumin seeds, as they turn dark red, add turmeric and crumble in the kasturi methi. Saute for 40 seconds until aroma essential oils release and a strong maple smell emerges

6)Add the ginger and garlic and allow to golden

7)Add red bell pepper paste and cook out excess moisture

8)Add tomatoes and cook until oil separates, then add pepper, coriander powder and garam masala and sugar

9)Add lemon juice, mix in, add the reduced cream, remove from heat and swirl in cold cubes of butter. Butter should have totally melted and sauce should be smooth

Saira Malhotra, is of British–Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: where she shares approachable and international recipes

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