This has to be the most popular curry in the world! There is always a debate about the exact origins of the recipe, but it's certainly not an authentic Indian curry and is most likely a result of the curry devised for Western palates in the first Indian r


  • 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5cm (2in) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 100g (4oz) tikka masala curry paste (such as Patak's)
  • 200g (7oz) canned chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml (9fl oz) carton of coconut cream
  • 150ml (¼ pint) chicken stock or water
  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into thick strips
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g (7oz) natural yoghurt, extra to garnish
  • Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
  • For the Saffron Rice:
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • Knob of butter
  • 350g (12oz) basmati rice
  • 6 green cardamom pods, cracked


  • Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-based pan with a lid. Add the onions, garlic, chilli and ginger and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, until soft and lightly golden. Stir in the tikka masala paste and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste. Add the tomatoes, coconut cream and chicken stock or water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until reduced by half and thickened.
  • Tip in the chicken strips and yoghurt and stir well to combine. Bring back to a gentle simmer, then cover with a lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is nicely reduced and the chicken is tender.
  • To prepare the saffron rice, place the saffron threads into a small bowl and pour over a little boiling water and leave to infuse. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan with a lid. When it's just starting to foam, tip in the rice and cardamom. Stir the rice for 2 minutes over a medium heat and season with a little salt. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the rice by 2.5cm (1in), bring to a simmer and put on the lid. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, then pour in the saffron, including the water that it's been soaking in. Cover the pot again and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked but retains some bite.
  • To serve, spoon the chicken tikka masala into warmed serving bowls and put the saffron rice into separate bowls. Add dollops of yoghurt to each bowl of chicken tikka masala and a good scattering of coriander leaves to garnish.

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