One plate of Chicken Tikka Masala Please.

What do you want? What d you REALLY want? A friend once asked me...

Ans : "I want a happy life. And I want to be in control of my fate. Thats what I want".
Thats it. I don't want rainbows or unicorns...
No diamond shoes needed for this "damsel in the kitchen" ... 
What I want is to be me..and that I always will be.
Give me a moonlit sky and your company any given night, a good book to read and a good friend to laugh with... give me strength to go on even in the face of defeat and a heart of kindness for everyone in need. That is what I want.

I am a simple girl...I come from a simple family...a family of educationist... a family where we value wisdom and knowledge, honesty and openness..where we are allowed to be veils needed, no cover up necessary..We don't brush the unsavory bits under the carpet..we tackle it head on and give everything our best shot...
I come from a family where money isn't given much emphasis..what we do treasure is our books..our love of words..our scented gardens and friendly chats... solitary sojourns and deep thinking.. and each other.
I still have some growing up to do though... :P

Anyways along with my propensity for deep thought, I also have a considerably deep tummy....lets NOT call it neverending..please..for my sake!!

I believe in living and loving life to the fullest. The weather is finally becoming cooler here in Raipur..making me get into one of my better, more indulgent moods..mood that makes me feel like slogging it out in the kitchen to make something extra delicious for P and baby thats good enough to pull out the flip flops, put on the sunglasses ,sit on my porch swing and enjoy some cool mojitos yet! And the day was good enough to do some cooking and make something that I've been thinking of making forever but had been putting off. So I made some Chicken Tikka Masala.

I made a "my way" version of Chicken Tikka Masala , so all those who want to debate and pull their hair out over the authenticity, please rest easy. I am not claiming this as "authentic".
But it tastes truly fabulous and scrumptious,especially with my masala kulchas.. (posting that soon).

But then again I am not sure if there is anything that qualifies as a "traditional Indian tikka masala". In fact, Chicken Tikka Masala was not even born in India. Rumor has it that years back in the 1960s, a British gentleman stepped into an Indian restaurant and returned his order of chicken tikka complaining that it was undercooked. Tired of his customer's rants, the chef opened a can of tomato soup, threw in some cream and cooked the tikka in the sauce.  Ironically, the dish became so popular in England that in 2001, it was declared as England's national dish. Some Indian critics claim that it was born in the early 1500s when Babar, a Mughal emperor sick of choking on the bones of his tandoori chicken asked his Punjabi cooks to remove all the bones. Cooks terrified of the angry emperor chopped off all the bones before throwing the chicken into the tandoor (clay oven). They cooked the chicken in spices and served it to the emperor.

Whatever be the history of the dish, I will solve the mystery of how to make it...


For Chicken Tikka:
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into cubes)
1 tsp Kashmiri red pepper powder
1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup yogurt
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp red food color (optional)

For the tomato sauce:
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (pureed)
1 tbsp garlic paste (I prefer fresh but you can use store bought too)
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp onion powder (optional)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp powdered black pepper
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp powdered fennel seeds
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped cilantro (for garnish)


For Chicken Tikka:
Mix all the dry ingredients into the mixture of yogurt and lemon juice to prepare a marinade.
Add chicken pieces into the marinade.
Mix everything well. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I did it overnight.
Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers.
Grill the skewered chicken until done or pop it into the oven for 15-20 minutes at a temperature of 400 deg. F.

For the Masala:
Pour oil in a thick bottom pan. Add ginger garlic paste.Turn on the heat and let the paste slowly cook as the oil heats up.
 When the oil is hot, add onion, coriander, fennel, black pepper powder and garam masala. Mix it all together.
Add tomato puree and mix it very well with all the spices. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce starts reducing and the excess water evaporates. Stir occasionally scraping the bottom.
Add cooked chicken pieces along with the drippings if cooked in an oven and cream. Mix it all together and let it simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve with Masala Kulchas and Garlic coriander naan like I did.

A demystified,
S :) 

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