Posts Tagged 'chicken'

Chicken Tikka Masala

This is a cheats version of the classic Anglo-Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s cheaty because it doesn’t involve the separate preparation of chicken tikka. Nor is the chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices, it’s simply added to the finished sauce. This version is highly spiced and quite intense, almost veering into “Murgh Makhani” territory.

Essential to the success of this dish is the preparation of fresh garam masala. My own garam masala recipe leans heavily on the clove and green cardamom and the intense fragrance is ideal for this recipe. You’ll also need to source dried fenugreek leaves, often sold under the name “kasoori methi”. They have a very distinctive flavour and are an essential component to this sauce.

Fresh green chillies, whether whizzed up in the sauce or cooked whole in the sauce add a really vibrant flavour to the sauce, as does the inclusion of fresh coriander at the end of cooking. Health food it ain’t, with all that butter and cream, but it’s great as an occasional treat.


  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 400g canned tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 5 free-range chicken breast fillets, cubed
  • 400ml water
  • 80g butter
  • 100ml single cream
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves, ground into powder
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Grind the cumin and coriander seeds to a fine powder and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large casserole or pot. Cook the onions gently until soft and golden. This should take at least 20 minutes.
  3. Now add the garlic-ginger past and fry for another minute or two. Add a splash of water if the mixture is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato puree and increase the heat slightly. Add the reserved cumin and coriander powders, paprika, chilli powder, yoghurt and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, adding a little water if necessary. This step is essential to cook out the raw flavour of the tomatoes and spices.
  4. Now remove the pot from the heat, add 400ml of water and whizz the sauce to a fine consistency using a stick blender.
  5. Return the pot to the heat and add the diced chicken. Allow to simmer gently for 25 mintes.
  6. Now time to finish the sauce – add the sugar, butter cream, lemon juice and fenugreek leaf powder. Simmer for another 10 minutes and check the flavour and consistency. If the sauce is took thick add another splash of water. I might add a little extra lemon juice, salt or sugar at this point – just adjust it to your own taste.

Serves 5-6.

Butter Chicken (River Cottage Murgh Makhani)

Indian Spices

This is the best chicken curry I’ve ever tasted and I’ve cooked it quite a few times now.  It’s the curry you make when you want to impress people who won’t eat lamb. Murgh Makhani is the authentic version of the more familiar “chicken tikka masala”. By all accounts, the dish was created at the “Moti Mahal” restaurant in New Delhi as a way to use up the marinade left over in the trays used to prepare chicken tikka. I can’t promise that this recipe is as good as you’d get in the Moti Mahal, but it’s definitely worth trying.

The recipe is adapted slightly from the River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I’ve changed how the chicken tikka is prepared and altered the spicing a little. The result is creamy, rich and spicy. Some plain basmati rice is the only accompaniment you’ll need for this.

Main Ingredients

  • 6 large, free-range chicken breasts
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Tikka Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tsp of the following: chilli powder, sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp of the following: ground coriander, ground fenugreek
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (or 1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger)
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp groundnut/sunflower oil

Tomato Gravy Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 175ml water


  1. The first step is to marinade the chicken. Mix the salt, chilli powder and paprika with the lemon juice in a large bowl and add the chicken breasts. cover and leave to marinade for 30 minutes. (If using “bone-in” chicken, make some slashes before adding to the marinade.)
  2. Mix the remaining marinade ingredients and coat the chicken breasts. Cover tightly with cling film and leave overnight.
  3. Put all of the ingredients for the tomato sauce in a saucepan and bring up to a gentle simmer. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes before straining to remove the whole spices. Cover and set aside.
  4. Transfer the chicken pieces, along with it’s marinade, to a roasting tray. Cover the tray with foil and roast in the oven at 220°C for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 200°C and leave for a further 20 minutes.
  5. Now it’s time to complete the dish by making the makhani sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the ground cumin. Sizzle gently for a minute before adding the tomato sauce and simmering for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken along with it’s sauce/marinade. Simmer until the chicken is warmed through and.

Serves 6.


  • Difference between this version and that contained in the River Cottage Meat Book – Hugh does his marinade in one single step. I prefer to do a two-step (with chilli and lime juice first) because it’s always worked for me and makes the chicken really succulent, even chicken breast fillets. I also use fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) instead of ground fenugreek as it looks good in the finished dish. Hugh also strains his tomato sauce to give a smoother result but I like a bit more texture in the sauce.

Chicken Saag

The Big 8 – The only curry recipes you’ll ever need!” – Part 7/8

Indian Spices

Saag makes a really nice change from tomato-based curries, whether in a restaurant or cooking at home. The word “saag” typically refers to “greens” and not just spinach. In India, it would often comprise a mixture of spinach, mustard greens and fresh fenugreek leaves. Given the lack of availability of mustard greens and fresh fenugreek in Dublin, this interpretation uses spinach along with dried fenugreek (kasoori methi) for flavour.

As with most curry gravies, it is best to make the sauce in advance and allow it to cool. Then we can add our chicken and finish the sauce with the spinach. Simples.


  • 6 free-range chicken breast fillets (or use bone-in chicken thighs)
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower/groundnut oil
  • 500g onions, chopped (about 3 large onions)
  • 10 cloves  garlic, peeled
  • 50g root ginger, peeled and chopped roughly (about the size of a golf ball)
  • 2 tsp of each of the following: ground cumin, red chilli flakes, ground coriander, garam masala
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 green cardamoms, lightly crushed
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 300g baby spinach leaves (or use regular spinach, stalks removed)
  • handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • natural yoghurt, to serve


  1. Combine the ground spices listed above and set aside. This is our “masala”.
  2. Place a deep cast-iron casserole (or large saucepan) on the hob and heat the oil. Add the onions and cook them gently for around 30 minutes until soft and light brown in colour.
  3. In the meantime, blitz the garlic, root ginger and tomatoes in a blender until smooth. Add a little water to loosen if necessary. Remove the browned onions from the casserole using a slotted spoon and add to the blender. Blend again until very smooth.
  4. Put the casserole back on the heat and add the onion/tomato mixture to the casserole. Then add the ground spice masala, chicken stock and salt. Stir to combine and bring up to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 45 mins.
  5. The sauce is now done. At this point it is best to leave the sauce to cool for a few hours (or preferably overnight). This really develops the flavour of the gravy and allows the spices and onions to mellow. You can skip this step however – it will still taste great.
  6. Bring the gravy back up to a gentlest simmer and add the cubed chicken. Cook for about 20 minutes (45 minutes if you’re using chicken thighs. Just remember to verify the chicken is cooked before eating.)
  7. Rinse the spinach in cold water and add two thirds of it to another saucepan. Cover with a lid and cook over a high heat for a minute or two until the spinach is wilted. Transfer the spinach to a clean blender and puree.
  8. Transfer the puree to the curry and add the rest of the spinach leaves. Cook for a minute and stir through a handful of  chopped fresh coriander. Drizzle over some natural yoghurt before serving. This goes really well with chapattis and plain basmati rice.

Serves 6.

Chicken Tikka

Another Indian snack/starter, which I’m a little obsessed with of late. Chunks of chicken are marinated in yoghurt and spices, then roasted quickly in a hot oven. Not as good as those produced by the tandoor, but they taste great. Just like the Seekh Kebab,  you could add some red food colouring for that authentic Indian restaurant vibe but it’s not necessary.

Chicken Tikka


  • 2 large free-range chicken fillets
  • 8 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp of the following: ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ½ chilli powder
  • 2 red onions


  1. Cut the chicken into large pieces, about the size of a walnut, and place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and ground spices and mix well. Cut the red onions into quarters and add to the chicken. Mix again and leave to marinate for an hour.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Thread the chicken and onion pieces onto skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, remember to soak them in water for an hour first.
  4. Place the skewers on a grill pan and roast for about 15 mins. You can also use a grill rack on a baking sheet.
  5. I like to serve these on naan bread with mango chutney and yoghurt.

Serves 2.

Christmas Sausage & Chestnut Stuffing

This is my new Christmas stuffing recipe, which I adapted from a recipe in GoodFood magazine. Mix sausage meat, herbs, breadcrumbs and chopped chestnuts, then form into patties. Wrap the patties in bacon and roast alongside your spuds. I like this method because the turkey/chicken does not take as long to cook, resulting in moister meat.


  • 200g good-quality sausage meat
  • 100g white breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 50g chestnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 apple
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 slices streaky bacon
  • 8 sage leaves


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the sausagemeat, breadcrumbs, apple, herbs, chestnuts and egg.
  2. Remove the core and skin from the apple and grate into the mixing bowl.
  3. Season with black pepper and a little salt (remember that your sausagemeat will already be well seasoned). Mix well with your hands.
  4. Form into 8 patties and wrap each patty with a slice of streaky bacon, tucking a sage leaf under the bacon.
  5. Place on a baking sheet (or alongside your roast potatoes) and roast at 180°C for 45 minutes.

Serves 8.

Easy Chicken Korma

The Big 8 – The only curry recipes you’ll ever need!” – Part 2/8

Chicken Korma

I can remember my first “proper” curry – a chicken madras in Khan’s Balti House in Donnybrook about 15 years ago. Strange I know, but I tend to remember things like that. I’ve been smitten with Indian food ever since, but some time ago I realised that restaurant style food is difficult to achieve at home. You need a lot of time and vast amounts of ghee, a type of clarified butter. You should also let your food rest overnight before serving; this allows the flavours to mature and the spices to mellow and mingle.

Happily, some restaurant dishes produce better results at home than others. This korma is the perfect example – it’s reminiscent of the restaurant version but includes fresh green chillis, dried fruits and toasted nuts. It tastes spectacular and it’s very quick and easy to cook. Serve with pilau rice and naan bread.


  • 4 free-range skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 200g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • thumb-size piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder (good quality)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 150ml single cream
  • 65g creamed coconut
  • 4 tbsp ground almonds
  • 5 tbsp sultanas
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 fresh green chilli peppers, sliced
  • 2 tsp garam masala (to taste)
  • fresh coriander
  • 5 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp flaked coconut, toasted (optional)


  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy saucepan and add a knob of butter. Fry the onion gently for about 10 minutes until it’s well caramelised. At this point, add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add the dried spices and stir-fry for another minute.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add 2 cups of cold water. Whizz the mixture with a stick blender until it’s completely smooth.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the cream, ground almonds, sultanas and dissolve the creamed coconut then simmer gently for another 5 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with salt and add a little extra sugar if you think it needs it. Stir through the garam masala and fresh coriander. Garnish with flaked almonds and toasted coconut, if using. Serve.

Serves 4.

Salse Verde

Salsa Verde

Salsa verde makes a great accompaniment to fish or chicken. Absolutely addictive. Just blitz the following ingredients (apart from the grain mustard) in a food processor and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


  • ½ clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • extra-virgin olive oil (enough to give a sauce consistency)
  • 2 tsp grain mustard