CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA, RAITA AND RICE
900g (2lb) free-range chicken thigh fillets Vegetable oil 1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced 3cm (1¼in) piece of ginger, sliced 1 bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked and finely chopped, stalks finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, sliced 2 onions, finely sliced 300g (10½oz) tikka paste 2 tomatoes, cut into chunks 800g (1lb 12oz) tinned chopped tomatoes 500g (1lb 2oz) basmati rice A few cardamom pods, crushed 50g (1¾oz) unsalted butter 250g plain fat-free yoghurt Juice of ½ a lemon
For the cucumber raita
250g (9oz) fat-free natural yoghurt ½ a bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and shredded or sliced Juice of ½ a lemon ½ a cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds discarded Cut each chicken fillet into 3 pieces along the grain, then set aside. Heat a little oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Add the chilli, ginger, coriander stalks and half the garlic and fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is golden. Add the onions, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes until soft and sticky, but not coloured.
Stir in the tikka paste and chicken, turn up the heat slightly and fry for 5 minutes. Season, add the fresh and tinned tomatoes. Mix and bring to the boil. As soon as it’s bubbling, reduce the heat, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, then remove the lid and cookook for a further 10 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the sauce thickened, adding a splash more water if needed.
About 15 minutes before the curry is ready, cook the rice. Boil 1ltr (1¾pts) of water, add the rice, a big pinch of salt and the cardamom. Return to the boil, cover, then simmer for 10-12 mins, till done. Drain.
Rinse the pan, melt butter in it and add the remaining garlic. Fry till golden, then return the rice to the pan, toss and cook for 1 minute. Stir in most of the coriander leaves.
For the raita, combine the yoghurt with the mint and lemon juice. Coarsely grate in the cucumber, season to taste, and stir. The chicken should now be tender. If the sauce is too thin, turn up the heat for 5 minutes to reduce.
Stir through the yoghurt and lemon juice, top with the remaining coriander and sserve with the rice and raita.