Chicken tikka with fenugreek

Chicken tikka with fenugreek

Reza’s Indian Spice

A Punjabi-style dish from the land of the five rivers, this dish shows off the indulgent, verdant flavours of the state. Punjab is famous for tandoori dishes, and the food also displays the wonderful influences from neighbouring Iran, Afghanistan and central Asia. The rich, herby flavours of the landscape ring through with the distinct earthiness of fenugreek. The morsels of meat are really moist, with an extraordinary, complex taste.


Quantity Ingredient

To make garam masala

Quantity Ingredient
8 bay leaves
6-8 x 5cm cinnamon sticks
50g coriander seeds
50g cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon cloves
2 tablespoons green cardamom pods
4-6 black cardamom pods
4-6 star anise
8-10 blades mace
1-2 tablespoons dried rose petals

For the chicken

Quantity Ingredient
600g skinless chicken breast, cut into 5cm cubes
2 tablespoons melted butter or ghee

For the first marinade

Quantity Ingredient
8 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon grated root ginger
1/2 lemon, juiced

For the second marinade

Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
200g fresh fenugreek leaves
4 green chillies
3 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
4 tablespoons mustard oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
250g greek yogurt
1 tablespoon gram flour
1 teaspoon garam masala


  1. I can’t recommend enough that you make your own garam masala for Indian dishes; sure you can buy it everywhere, but this knocks the socks off any pre-ground tub. To make it, dry-roast all the ingredients in a wide, non-stick pan for five to seven minutes, stirring. Grind in a coffee or spice grinder to a very fine powder. Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place and use it up as soon as you can.
  2. Now to the chicken. Put it in a mixing bowl and add the ingredients for the first marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. Meanwhile, put the cumin seeds for the second marinade into a small dry frying pan, place over a medium heat and stir until aromatic and a shade darker. Pour into a mortar and crush to a powder with the pestle.
  3. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the fresh fenugreek leaves and blanch for a few minutes until the leaves turn soft. Drain in a colander, then put into a food processor or blender. Add the chillies, dried fenugreek leaves and roasted cumin. Blend to a smooth paste. In a frying pan, heat both the oils and cook the fenugreek paste for about five minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat, put into a bowl and allow to cool. Fold in the yogurt, gram flour and garam masala, and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge. Fold in the fenugreek marinade. Return the chicken to the fridge and allow to marinate for at least four hours, or overnight. Bring the chicken pieces to room temperature, then place on a grill tray. Grill under a hot grill for about four minutes on each side, basting with the melted butter or ghee halfway through cooking. Serve with any of the salads or chutneys in this book, or with a raita.
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