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World's Very Best Tikka Curry

May 3, 2017

There's an unwritten - but widely known - rule in the United States that you shouldn't wear white after Labor Day.

I bet if I dug deep enough I'd find a rule discouraging sharing curry recipes after the start of May.

I admit I debated the wisdom of this timing.

On the one hand, I know I should be featuring only the lightest, brightest summer recipes. On the other, if I pass up the opportunity to share this gem now, I'll most likely have to wait till the weather turns cold, meaning I'd be depriving you of this insanely delicious dish for months.

Make this aromatic and entirely unforgettable tikka curry while you can and don't, under any circumstances, allow what appears to be a long list of ingredients/2-step preparation scare you.

It's quite simply the very best curry I've ever made...tweaked and perfected...and made over and over again.

 

 
800 grams chicken breast, cut in cubes (see notes)
¼ cup lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut milk/cream
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds (optional see *)
1 teaspoon curry powder

SAUCE
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons sugar to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons salt to taste
1 teaspoon hot paprika/chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 cup coconut milk/cream or more if desired
1 1/4 cups water
Chopped coriander leaves (optional)

* The crushed coriander seeds are a wonderful addition as they add a huge amount of flavor. Buy from any spice shop, place in a plastic bag, and bang a few times with a rolling pin, or even a heavy tin can. A highly recommended inclusion.

 1:Combine the chicken cubes with the rest of the marinade ingredients and allow to marinate 1 to 8 hours.
2: Thread the chicken cubes onto skewers then place on a baking tray ideally with space underneath them to allow the heat to be distributed evenly. This is recommended but not essential.
3: Bake at 200 C for about 20 minutes until slightly browning and cooked through then set aside.
4: To make the sauce, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, then sauté the onions, ginger, and garlic until softened but not browned.
5: Add the spices and fry for about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes/sauce, coconut milk/cream and water and simmer for 20 minutes.
6: Add salt and sugar to taste, add the chopped coriander now if using as the taste is more subtle if it's cooked, then add the cooked chicken cubes to the sauce and allow to simmer for a few minutes to heat the chicken through.
7: Serve with Basmati rice. I always make my Basmati in the microwave using 1 cup of rice to 2 cups salted, boiling water cooked on high for 14 minutes. Enjoy every delicious mouthful.

COOK'S NOTES: Dish serves approximately 6. For make-ahead convenience, I allow the chicken to marinate for a few hours, then cook it and set it aside. I also make the sauce early and have that ready and waiting. When I am ready to serve, I heat the sauce till hot, then add in the cooked chicken and allow it to sit a few minutes to heat through. Cooking the chicken in the oven as described, and marinating it in coconut milk, makes it super tender and way better than curries where the chicken stews in the sauce. I've also made this curry with cauliflower which I have marinated and cooked in the oven in the same way. If making with cauliflower, you can add other vegetables to the sauce like mushrooms and zucchini and potato. Best. Curry. Ever.

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