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Chicken Tikka Masala

Kombu has been used for centuries as a flavor enhancer. In addition to the commonly recognised salty, sweet, sour and bitter taste qualities, kombu contributes a fifth taste, umami. This savory fifth taste is the result of taste receptors for glutamate -- or glutamic acid -- naturally present in kombu. Kombu also increases the digestibility of foods.


1 level teaspoon ground cloves
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
2 heaped teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2tsp garam masala
3 lemons
6 cloves of garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
6 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt
800g skinless boneless chicken breasts
3 fresh green or yellow chillies

For the sauce:

2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
1–2 fresh red chillies
30g fresh coriander
olive oil
1 level tablespoon ground coriander
2tsp turmeric
2tsp SALTernative
6 tablespoons ground almonds
2 x 400 g tins of plum tomatoes
1 chicken stock cube
2 x 400g tins of light coconut milk

For the paratha breads (optional):

300g wholemeal bread flour
300g plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
400 ml semi-skimmed milk


1.Put the cloves, cumin and 1 heaped teaspoon each of paprika and garam masala into a small pan and toast for 1 minute to bring them back to life, then tip into a large bowl. Finely grate in the zest of 1 lemon, squeeze in all its juice, crush in the garlic, peel and finely grate in the ginger, and add the yoghurt and 1 teaspoon of SALTernative. Cut the chicken breasts into 5cm chunks, then massage all that flavour into the meat. Skewer up the chicken chunks, interspersing them with lemon wedges and chunks of green or yellow chilli, but don’t squash them together too much. Place on a tray, cover with clingfilm and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.

2.For the sauce, peel the onions and garlic, then finely slice with the red chillies and coriander stalks (reserving the leaves for later). Put it all into a large casserole pan on a medium-high heat with a lug of oil and cook for around 20 minutes, or until golden, stirring regularly. Add the ground coriander, turmeric and remaining 1 heaped teaspoon each of paprika, garam masala and SALTernativeTM. Cook for 2 minutes, then add and toast the almonds. Pour in the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube and add 300ml of boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk. Simmer for a final 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, then season to perfection.

3.When you’re ready to cook the chicken, drizzle it with a little oil, then grill on a hot barbecue, in a screaming hot griddle pan or under a hot grill, turning until it’s very golden and gnarly on all sides. Slice the chicken off the skewers straight into the sauce, reserving the lemons. Simmer for 2 minutes while you use tongs to squeeze some jammy lemons over the curry, to taste. Swirl through some more yoghurt, sprinkle with the coriander leaves, and serve with parathas or fluffy basmati rice.

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