Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chicken tikka masala

This week, I felt like some comfort food for dinner, as we have just started to really get into autumn (although the warm daytime temperatures are lasting). With some leftover chicken in the freezer and my love of spicy (but not too hot!) food, I thought that the perfect choice would be chicken tikka masala.

I lived in London for 12 months about 6 years ago, and during that time, I learned that chicken tikka had replaced fish and chips as the British national dish. There are some absolutely super curry houses around Brick Lane in the East End that make delicious and inexpensive curries, including chicken tikka. However, I also had some abysmal chicken tikka while in London, featuring huge chunks of red "glow in the dark" chicken which was weirdly stored in large bowls in the unrefrigerated windows of take out stalls at markets such as Spitalfields and at convenience stores. Spurred on by the memory of some fabulous chicken tikkas from Brick Lane, I forged ahead with trying quite a few of these glowing abominations before giving them up as a bad job. Despite this, I have a soft spot for chicken tikka, as it always reminds me of my time in London.

Back in Oz, chicken tikka is commonly available at Indian restaurants, even though I believe that it is an entirely Anglicised concoction, and that traditionally, Indians would not make it.

To make the chicken tikka pictured at the top of this post, I used this recipe from Australian Good Taste. The only strange thing about this recipe is that it suggests the use of tandoori curry paste rather than chicken tikka curry paste. However, for once I obeyed the recipe, and I loved the resulting colour and flavour of the dish. As you can see, the chicken is orangey red, but nowhere near "glow in the dark". The inclusion of the spinach in the recipe is genius - it really makes the dish, with its green crispness contrasting nicely with the tender, spicy, orange coloured chicken. My only diversion from the recipe was to serve the curry with boiled rice instead of pappadums.

All I can say is - delish!


Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

Great this reicpe...I'll obey to the recipe too!!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Glad you did not end up with glow in the dark chicken. That would have been scary! England national dish, huh? That sure says something. Your weather sounds just like mine, so I am sure this would be appropriate here as well!

adele said...

Oh, yum. I miss being able to find cheap Indian food - it seems to fill the niche of "upscale ethnic restaurant" in New England. Even the places in mall food courts are on the pricey side.

Anonymous said...

Hi cakelaw!
My bloke goes bonkers every time it is mentioned that the national dish of England is not "english" at all. That said, he LOVES this dish and all Indian foods. So, I ask him what he would have as the national dish and he and chips, or pie :) Chicken tikka masala is one of my favorites.

Rosie said...

This looks so delish!! I don't like too hot curries either cakelaw and the colour is great on your chicken not that deep red colour you would find when eating out!

Rosie x

Peter M said...

I luh-luh-luv these curries. Crack open a cold beer and enjoy the Indian dish.

Pixie said...

Hi cakelaw,

Sorry it's been a while- such little time on computer since my laptop went kapoot. I adore Brick Lane and we've been there a number of time ourselves. Unbelievable how chicken tikka is a national dish for the Uk. Though, I love it too. ;)


Cakelaw said...

Thanks Sylvia - would love to hear how you go with it.

Hi Gretchen, I know, I was surprised too! I am sad to wave the warm weather goodbye - the only good thing about it is the great wintery fare that is now suitable to make.

Hi Adele, it's the same here in Oz - expensive! The UK had it all over us for variety and price of eats - provided of course that you are earning pounds (otherwise the exchange rate would floor you!).

LOL Maryann - don't mention what I said to your fella.

Thanks Rosie - I think it's better when your meal cannot be detected by a geiger counter.

Cheers Peter!

Hi Pixie, lucky you! NYC and London are both great cities for eating, shopping and everything else, so you have chosen well. Hope your computer is back up and running soon.