Though everybody ‘knows’ this dish was invented in Britain, when a diner supposedly wanted sauce with his chicken tikka, its roots are firmly entrenched in one of India’s favourite dishes: butter chicken. It is velvety and unapologetically rich. You will need to taste carefully while you cook, as the sweet-sour balance of tomatoes changes with the season and variety. Balance tartness with sugar or cream or, if it is already sweet, omit the sugar. Do not use plum tomatoes; they are too sweet.
for the tikka marinade
3–4 tsp lemon juice, depending on
the tartness of the yogurt
110g Greek yogurt
2 fat garlic cloves, grated into a paste
10g fresh root ginger, peeled weight,
grated into a paste
¼–½ tsp chilli powder
1½ tsp paprika powder, for colour
1½ tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
for the curry
6 boneless chicken thighs
20g fresh root ginger, peeled weight
8 garlic cloves
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 black cardamom pod
6 green cardamom pods
2cm cinnamon stick
500g vine tomatoes, blended to a
1 tbsp tomato puree
2–4 small green chillies, whole but
salt, to taste
80–100ml single cream, or to taste
1 tsp sugar, or to taste
¼–½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika powder, or to taste
1 rounded tsp dried fenugreek
leaves, crushed to a powder
1 tsp garam masala
small handful of fresh coriander
leaves, to serve
Mix together all the marinade ingredients with 1 tsp salt. Add the chicken and marinate for as long as possible (overnight, covered, in the fridge is best).
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 non-stick 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 puree 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 six to eight 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.
Heat the oven to 240°C, ideally with the grill on too, if your oven can do that. Remove the chicken from the fridge. Place it on a foil-lined baking tray on the uppermost shelf of the oven and cook for eight 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.
Heat the remaining butter and add the green chillies. Add the sauce, salt
and a good splash of water and simmer for three or four minutes. Add the chicken, cream, sugar, chilli powder and enough paprika to get a colour you like, then add the powdered fenugreek leaves and garam masala. Simmer, stirring often, for four or five 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.
This recipe is taken from I Love Curry by Anjum Anand (Quadrille, £9.99)
Photography by Johnathan Gregson
Prawns are forever a decadent supper in my mind due to the much-loved prawn cocktail enjoyed on rare trips out to restaurants as a child. Prawns smothered in Marie Rose sauce and served up on crunchy cold iceberg lettuce still have a place in my heart, but this is what I crave after a long day.
150g white basmati rice
8 tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
20g block of creamed
190g raw peeled prawns
1 red chilli, sliced
A handful of fresh coriander
Soak the rice in a measuring jug of cold water. Meanwhile,
preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2 and put the tomatoes
in a roasting tin and sprinkle with oil and paprika. Cook on
the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes until well roasted.
Now it’s action stations. Drain the rice in a sieve and rinse it
in cold water, to get rid of the excess starch that can make your
rice stodgy, until the water runs clear. Return the rice to the
measuring jug and make a note of the volume in millilitres.
Tip into a saucepan and add double the amount of cold water
to rice. Stir in the salt and coconut. Bring to the boil without a lid
then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover with a lid and leave
to cook for 10 minutes. Don’t peek – the lid needs to stay on
throughout. I set a timer for this, as rice is precise stuff.
Meanwhile, add the prawns and chilli to the tomato mixture,
shake a little and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Once the rice
timer goes, remove the rice pan from the heat and leave with
the lid on for 5 minutes. Once cooked, fluff the rice up with a fork
and serve it with the hot prawns poured over the top. Snip over
some coriander if you have some.
This recipe is taken from Recipes from a Normal Mum by Holly Bell (Quadrille, £20)
Photography by David Loftus
Using a mayonnaise-based sauce is a good way to get flavours into a dish without overpowering the taste of the fish. John Dory has a lovely delicate flavour, which is enhanced here by a subtle, fresh-tasting curry sauce. Buttery cabbage and shallots contrast the moist texture of the fish beautifully.
2 John Dory, about 600g each, gutted, filleted,
skinned and pin-boned
1 Savoy or hispi cabbage
75g unsalted butter
2 large banana shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Cornish sea salt
2 medium egg yolks
1 tsp mild curry powder
3 tsp white wine vinegar
200ml sunflower oil
75ml apple juice
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the
boil. Remove and set aside 12 large outer leaves
from the cabbage; halve, core and shred the rest.
Add the whole cabbage leaves to the boiling
water and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove and
drain thoroughly, then plunge into ice-cold
water to refresh, then drain and set aside.
Heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat.
When hot, add the shallots and shredded
cabbage and cook for 3 minutes to soften, then
tip onto a tray, spread out and leave to cool.
Lay a sheet of cling film on your work surface.
Lay the cabbage leaves out on the cling film,
overlapping them slightly to form a sheet.
Spread the shredded cabbage and shallots
evenly on top, then roll up to form a sausage
and wrap tightly in the cling film, twisting
the ends to secure. Pierce the cling film with
the tip of a knife to release any excess water,
then chill the cabbage for 2 hours.
To make the curry sauce, beat the egg yolks,
curry powder, ½ tsp salt and the wine vinegar
together in a bowl, then slowly whisk in the oil,
drop by drop to begin with, then in a steady
stream to make a smooth, thick mayonnaise.
Stir in the apple juice until evenly combined,
then taste and adjust the seasoning.
Heat your oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Heat your grill
to its highest setting and oil a grill tray. Season
the fish with salt and place skin side up on the
Slice the cabbage roll carefully into 4 even
lengths and remove the cling film. Place the
cabbage rolls on a lined baking tray and warm
through in the oven for 5 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, place the fish under the grill for
6 minutes or until just cooked. Gently warm the
sauce in a pan until it just starts to steam, then
take it off the heat and give it a good whisk.
When the fish is ready, spoon the sauce into
warm deep plates. Add a cabbage roll and a fish
fillet to each and finish with a drizzle of curry oil.
This recipe is taken from Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen (Quadrille, £20)
Photoraphy by David Loftus