I love this recipe – it’s simple with bang-on flavours. The combination of tomatoes and basil works everywhere, irrespective of the country. I have used it in grills, curries, breads and even desserts! The tomato paste recipe makes more than you need for this dish, but I also like it in toasted cheese sandwiches and to serve alongside sliced cold cuts. You won’t waste the leftover amount, I promise you.

Serves 4


Basil chicken tikka

4 x 180g boneless, skinless chicken supremes, each cut into 3 pieces

15g butter

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Sea salt

Tomato paste

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

2 green cardamom pods, bruised

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, chopped

½ onion, chopped

3 large tomatoes, chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

½ teaspoon garam masala

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1–2 tablespoons water (optional)

Basil marinade

50g basil leaves, plus extra to garnish

30g coriander leaves

30g baby spinach leaves

2 small green chillies, chopped

4 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons single cream

15g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1½ teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon chaat masala

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

1 tablespoon grated Cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon Gram flour roux

Curried mayonnaise

5 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Benares Curry Powder

1 teaspoon lime juice

Finely grated zest of 1 lime

To Garnish

Basil cress sprigs

Edible purple flowers

Red and yellow baby tomatoes, halved

Mint and Coriander Chutney (optional)


Tomato paste

The tomato pastewill keep for up to 2 weeks in a covered container in the fridge. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the cardamom pods and cumin seeds and sauté over a medium heat until the spices crackle. Add the ginger, garlic and onion and sauté for a further 3–5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and ground spices and stir for 4–5 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down. Sir in the sugar, vinegar and salt to taste, and simmer for 10–12 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked and the flavours blended. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the tomato mixture to cool completely, then purée in a blender or food processor. Cover and chill until required, then loosen with the water, if necessary. Remove it from the fridge in enough time for it to reach room temperature before serving.

Basil chicken tikka

Put all the marinade ingredients in a clean blender or food processor and blend to a fine paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken pieces, then set aside to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.After the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Place the chicken pieces with their marinade, butter and oil in a roasting tray lined with a non-stick oven mat, and roast for 10 minutes, basting twice with the butter and oil mixture, or until the pieces are cooked through and the juices run clear when they are pierced with the tip of a knife. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, covered with kitchen foil.

Curried mayonnaise

Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the curried mayonnaise together, cover and chill until required.

To serve

Arrange the chicken pieces, tomato paste, curried mayonnaise, chutney and halved baby tomatoes on the plates in an abstract presentation. Garnish and serve immediately.