Chicken Tikka Marsala Triangles

Not to be confused with Chicken Tikka Masala.

Chicken Tikka Masala given a festive – and inauthentic – twist with Christmassy flavours: booze, dried fruit and nuts. Very festive, indeed. Folded into a crisp phyllo shell, it’s the perfect party appetizer.

Makes about 40 pieces


2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1.5 cups chopped onion

2 ribs of celery, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

1 heaped tbsp tikka masala curry paste (or any mild curry paste)

1 whole star anise

1 tin coconut milk 

1/6 cup (42ml) Marsala cooking wine

½ cup raw unsalted cashews, chopped

1.5 tbsp sugar

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup raisins

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes

Phyllo pastry (2 boxes should do it)

Melted butter


In a large frying pan heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, curry paste and the whole star anise and cook for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, Marsala, cashews and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. Remove the star anise but don’t discard. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel and return the pan to the heat. Add the smooth sauce back to the pan, along with the star anise, sugar, cranberries, and raisins. Now add the cubed chicken pieces and stir so they are submerged. Turn the heat down to a simmer and gently poach the chicken in the sauce until cooked. Remove the star anise and discard. Transfer the curry to a bowl and leave to cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Curry with star anise and cranberries

Tip: Leaving the sauce to develop overnight really improves the flavour. Don’t skip this step – it really makes a difference!  

To assemble the triangles, first set up your work station so you’re ready to work with the phyllo. You will need:

  • A damp – not wet – tea towel to cover your unused pastry
  • Another damp tea towel for the finished triangles
  • Baking tray
  • Melted butter (about 2 – 3 tbsp)
  • Pastry brush
  • Chopping board
  • Paring knife

Start by laying out a sheet of phyllo on your chopping board. Brush lightly with melted butter, then lay another sheet on top. Repeat until you have three layers of pastry. Cut the pastry into quarters, then cut each quarter in half lengthwise to give you eight strips.

Place a heaped teaspoon of the curry – making sure to get some chicken and fruit in each – at one end. Fold into triangles by folding up on the diagonal (see photos, below). Arrange on a baking tray and cover with the damp towel while you carry on with the rest. Keep going until you run out of pastry, curry or both!

Make Ahead: Arrange triangles on a baking tray, cover with cling film and freeze until solid. Transfer to a plastic bag and keep in the freezer until needed.

To bake, arrange on a parchment-lined baking tray and brush each with a little melted butter. Bake at 375F / 190C / 175C Fan for 12 minutes or so, 14 minutes if baking from frozen, or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before serving, for best flavour and minimal burned mouths.

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