Friday, February 17, 2012

Foods To Eat Before You Die: #27 Chicken Tikka Masala

When I compiled the list of 101 Foods to Eat Before You Die, I didn't even put together the fact that I had just bought a jar of Tikka Masala sauce from the store. The country of origin for Tikka Masala is debatable with both Britain and India laying claim to the dish. What is not questioned is the British love for the dish. Chicken Tikka Masala is the most sold dish in Britain's restaurants.

Occasionally, I like to buy something that I've never had before just to try it out. Indian food is one that I am not too familiar with, and had a difficult time finding other people to go eat with me. I think that it is the lack of meat for some and the spiciness for others. Neither of which bother me. I've found that living in a landlocked state, quite a few people are scared of seafood. I don't know if that correlates with finding other people that are as explorative as I am with food. Regardless, this seemed like an easy meal according to the jar. Cook a pound of chicken. Add the sauce and let simmer for 15 minutes. Pour over rice. It seemed almost like an Indian Spaghetti in its preparation.

Conveniently, Leigha had just bought a whole chicken to make chicken and noodles with. I deboned the bird, keeping the breasts for the Tikka Masala, bones for making a stock and the rest to go with the noodles. Once I got the breasts cut, I seasoned it with a little homemade rub. I wanted to get a nice crispy coating no the chicken, so the sauce could stick to it better. I added some butter to a deep sauté pan and put the chicken in. Because the chicken was going to be simmering in the sauce, I didn't want to cook it all the way through and dry it out. I removed it from the heat and cut it into large chunks.

Once the chicken was ready, I added the sauce, covered, and let the chicken soak up the flavors of the Masala. While this was simmering, I cooked some rice in a separate pan.

I was quite pleased with the final product. It was somewhat sweet, somewhat tangy and a little spicy. Leigha and I both agreed that it would be something that we would make again. This was not something that the kids liked, though. Tate was too scared to try it. I suspect that he thought that it was spicy hot, which it really wasn't. Emery tried it. After chewing for a few seconds, she spit it out. I think that it was just a different flavor profile. At first, I thought that the dish needed salt. Leigha disagreed. It seemed like it was missing something to me. Then I realized that what would have been perfect accompaniment was some naan.
This was a success, but next time I might try to make the sauce from scratch. Because there will definitely be a next time.


  1. Interesting! I've never eaten much Indian food, but like curry. I like trying new foods through your blog before I decide whether or not to try it myself. How did I end up with such foodies for children?

  2. I think that our appreciation of food is like when poor kids grow up successful. Growing up in a land-locked state, fresh fish was not readily available. Therefore many people in the area didn't like seafood. You guys did a good job of raising us with a willingness to try new things, but couldn't afford to get anything too fancy or expensive for a family of six. Now that us kids are all adults, we can afford to try such things ourselves.


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