May 02, 2004

2nd day Indian

To "properly" make Chicken Tikka Masala, you need two day. At least, the way I make it, you probably need two days.

The basic idea is simple: chicken cooked in a tandorri style, then cut up and simmered in a cream-based sauce. There are lots of recipes for Chicken Tikka Masala and you can follow just about any of them -- but you are missing out if you don't do the initial cooking of the chicken over a real charcoal grill.

For for me, Tikka Masala has always been the utilimate Sunday leftover meal. I've made a tandorri chicken the previous day, and saved some of it. Cut it up and simmered it in the sauce. Comfort food in 48 hours -- not exactly the way most Americans approach the problem.

This weekend I cooked of the chicken on Saturday. Rather that yougurt (traditional in most tandorris) I used wine and some oil. I cooked the chicken over very very heavy smoke from tabasco chips -- quite acrid smoke from these. Fresh off the grill on naan bread, it was great. But part of me was Jonesing for the next day, when I knew I would put the remainder of the chicken to service.

For the sauce base, I usually use a fairly decent jarred paste from Patak's. Yeah yeah, I know, I should make it myself. I usually doctor up the sauce with additional flavors -- I tend to want more cumin, corridander, and fenugreek than most mixes have in them. But, boy, it is a wonder how easy these prepared pastes make it -- just add lots of heavy cream.

Once the sauce is made, I like to simmer the cut-up chicken for at least 30 minutes -- this way the flavors from the chicken (smokey) and those from the sauce (creamy) mingle much better.

Some fresh cillantro (from my own garden, I might add as a way of balancing my use of a jarred product) over a base of basmatti rice and you've got some good mid-afternoon Sunday eats.

Posted by dowdy at May 2, 2004 12:01 PM