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Watch & Recipes: Can Lucy make a better chicken tikka masala than James May?

Armed with the Tefal Cook4Me Touch, it'll definitely be quicker, but will it also taste better?

4w ago

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Lucy Brown has been working her way through James May's cookbook. One of her favourite recipes to cook is his chicken cheater masala. While it tastes great, it does take more than 24 hours to make. You need to marinate the meat overnight, and it features a lot of ingredients.

We know Lucy loves things that are easy and quick to cook, and anything that helps her out in the kitchen is even better. She's found a recipe, and a gadget, that might have solved all her problems. The recipe has just seven ingredients – while James' recipe has 25 – and it takes just three minutes to cook. Literally just three minutes.

Lucy is using a digital pressure cooker – the Tefal Cook4Me Touch. All she needs to do is choose the recipe on the screen on the Cook4Me, or on the app, and follow the simple instructions.

There are pictures for each step, and how-to videos, so there's really no room for error. As it's a pressure cooker, the curry is cooked before you know it, in just three minutes (which still baffles us!). Whether you're cooking a risotto, or meatballs, or a boeuf bourguignon, they can all be done and on the table in less than 10 minutes. Kitchen wizardry.

Here's how she did it.

Chicken tikka masala – in three minutes

Lucy's attempts to beat James May, with the Tefal Cook4Me Touch

Prep time3min
Cook time3min
Total time6min


  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200g chopped onion
  • 600g diced boneless chicken breast
  • 140g tikka curry paste
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150ml water
  • 100ml double cream


  1. Chop the onion and dice the chicken.
  2. Add 2 tbsp oil to the Cook4Me.
  3. Brown onion and chicken for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine.
  5. Pressure cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Stir, season to taste, and serve.

Recipe Notes

Cooked using the Tefal Cook4Me Touch

Recipe by


Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

For those of you who might want a comparison of recipes, here's James May's curry recipe from his book, Oh Cook.

James says: "This isn't a true tikka masala ('masala' simply means a mixture of spices), because to do that you'd have to cook the chicken pieces on skewers in a tandoor. But it's a pretty good fake. As this is a big and complicated job, I've made it for six people. If you're going to make this much effort, you want it to be appreciated. It might be a good idea to start this the day before."

James May's chicken cheater masala

From James May's Oh Cook

Prep time1d
Cook time30min
Total time1d


  • 800g chicken breasts, cut into fork-sized chunks
  • Handful of fresh coriander to garnish
  • ...For the marinade...
  • 150g plain yogurt
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 5cm/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • ...For the sauce...
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Large knob of butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 5 cm/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 0.5 tsp black cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 400ml tomato passata
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 tsp brown sugar



  1. Bung all the marinade ingredients into a bowl and stir together.
  2. Make small cuts in your chicken chunks (this helps the marinade work its way in), add them to the marinade, mix all together and leave, covered, in the fridge overnight.

The next day

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C 325°F.
  2. First, make the sauce.
  3. Melt the oil and butter in a deep frying pan. Fry the onion until soft -around 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir around for a few minutes. It should start to smell fantastic.
  4. Now add the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, ground coriander and black cardamom. Fry for another minute, stirring.
  5. Pour in the passata, then add the chilli powder and salt. Bring to a simmer and keep on a low heat for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juice thickens up.
  6. Once the sauce is ready, keep it on a low heat, covered if necessary, while you prepare the chicken.
  7. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, but keep the marinade.
  8. Turn on the grill to a high temperature. Line the grill tray with foil and grill the chicken pieces, turning regularly, a few minutes on each side, until the surfaces are a rich, dark brown. At this stage you are cooking just the surfaces. The chicken will cook through completely in the sauce, later.
  9. When the chicken is ready, add the leftover marinade, the cream and sugar to the sauce and stir together.
  10. Now put the chicken pieces into the sauce and bring to a simmer. You need to cook the chicken through, which will take anything from 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces. Test a piece. There should be no pink meat inside.
  11. Turn the masala into a serving dish and garnish with the coriander leaves.
  12. Serve with basmati rice, then have a long lie down.

Recipe by

James May

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

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Comments (2)

  • I'd love to try them side by side, like a wannabe Masterchef judge

      1 month ago
  • Lordy! James lost me on the long list of ingredients and preparation 😅 That's an insane difference for cooking the same thing, even without considering the taste factor.

      1 month ago