CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA, RAITA AND RICE

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

Serves 8-10

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.

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