Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most famous meals to come from a tandoori oven, which is a cylindrical clay oven, heated by a fire, almost like a braai. Tikka means ‘pieces’ but chicken Tikka refers to a specific meal of chicken pieces marinated in a masala spice and yoghurt, skewered and cooked in a tandoori (or, in this case, braaied). Chicken Tikka masala is one of my all-time favourite curries and sure to be one of yours once you’ve nailed this recipe.
What you need (feeds 4)
600 g deboned, skinless chicken meat (a pack of 4 chicken breasts)
1-cup plain yoghurt
2 tots chicken Tikka masala spice (or tandoori masala or any good masala mix that is red in colour that you can find at your local spice market)
1 tot lemon juice
about 6 skewers
1 tot garlic
1 tot ginger
oil or butter
1 400 g can tomato puree (or chopped tomatoes)
2–3 tots tomato paste
1 cup cream
½ cup coconut cream
1 tsp garam masala (This tastes different from and is slightly hotter than normal masala as it contains different ingredients and ratios of ingredients. You need to trust me that this is the masala you need for the dish so go find it at a spice market.)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli powder (optional, can be less or more)
2 tots ground almonds
2 tots chopped coriander leaves (dhania)
What to do
Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and mix in a marinating bowl with the yoghurt, masala spice and lemon juice. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
Skewer the chicken pieces (make sosaties) and braai over hot coals until done. Don’t worry about the odd black spot of caramelised chicken appearing.
In a cast-iron pot or fireproof pan lightly fry the garlic and ginger in a bit of oil or butter. If there is any leftover marinade, also add this.
After 2 minutes add all the other ingredients except for the salt, honey and coriander leaves. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. While it is simmering, look at the sauce and taste it. If you want to, make the following adjustments:
Add salt if it needs more.
Make the sauce hotter by adding more chilli powder and/or sweeter by adding honey.
To make the colour of the sauce redder add extra paprika or to make it more yellow or orange add extra turmeric.
When the sauce is to your liking, starts to thicken, and the chicken is braaied, remove the skewers and add the sauce to the chicken pieces. Stir in the dhania or coriander leaves and serve with basmati rice.
And . . .
If you reckon you can multitask then you can obviously braai the chicken and cook the sauce concurrently.
Michael’s wine recommendation – Click here
Jan Braai is a national treasure. Jan has braaied with thousands of South Africans, almost every day since the launch of his National Braai Day initiative in 2005. And he knows what people want to know about braaing. Fireworks, a reprint of Jan’s first book which sold over 50,000 copies, is now available in soft cover. More than a recipe book – it is an instruction manual for braaing – from steak, to the perfect braaied chicken and lamb chops. For the adventurous you could try Jan’s rack of lamb or lamb on a spit! His Jan Braai vir Erfenis is a Kynet series which has run each year since 2011, is currently running for at least the next three months. Fireworks is one of the top 3 Braai Books in the world, so says Gourmand Awards 2014.
Jan’s noble aim is to create a national celebration of the one activity all South Africans have in common, regardless of race, language, gender or wealth, cooking over a fire. He holds the world record for the longest braai. For more about Jan Braai visit www.braai.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.