Chicken Tikka Masala, an attempt to recreate a favourite Friday night curry meal in London.
Since moving to Australia many things in my life have changed. Some changes are for the better: the seasons have finally gone back to being the right way round, hot Christmas, cold birthday (June!) but some have been very hard to get used to, like the fact that Ron and I never eat out anymore due to budgetary constraints. On the rare occasions that we do have a meal in a restaurant, we find ourselves often critical, we could cook a steak better at home, my mushroom sauce tastes nicer, why order a thai curry when I make a mean one in my own kitchen.
There are some meals that I will order in a restaurant knowing I will probably never attempt them at home like the slow cooked tender pork ribs I had on Thursday night when we went out with Ron's parents for his birthday dinner. They were heavenly, melt in the mouth, delicious and conjoured up all sorts of memories of home when going out to eat ribs was a family ritual we all loved until my sister decided there was something very wrong with people chewing meat off a bone and developed a phobia about ribs!
The one meal I miss the most about London has to be the traditional English curry. I miss the little Indian restaurants conveniently situated next to the tube station so you stumble out into the night and straight into the fragrant space decorated with moving pictures in gold frames and gaudy faux gold objects on the walls. I miss the smell and the beer and the poppadums and chutneys. I miss the polite waiters and the prompt arrival of little copper serving dishes full of all the things you need to make a great curry dinner, sag paneer, tarka dhal, boiled rice and a lucious curry swimming with oil and spice.
In a fit of melancholy I decided to try and recreate a meal that Ron and I often enjoyed on a quiet night in London. One of us would stop by Sainsburys on the way home and pick up a "curry in a box for two" and then back home I would nuke the containers in the microwave for just long enough to heat them up and then we would feast on suprisingly good Chicken Tikka Masala or Butter Chicken or Lamb Pasanda with naan and rice washed down with bottled beer. It was cheap and easy and convenient and a guilty pleasure. This is my version of Chicken Tikka Masala and although its delicious and filling and very satisfying, it still doesn't beat "curry in a box for two."
Chicken Tikka Masala
(feeds two with leftovers)
6 chicken thigh fillets chopped into chunks marinaded overnight in the following:
juice of a lime
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
a knob of ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, grated
150ml plain yogurt
1 onion, diced
another tsp each of ground coriander, tumeric, chilli powder, cumin
small knob of ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 tbsp tomato puree
3 diced tomatoes (or 1 tin)
1 cup water
100ml double cream
1 bunch of fresh coriander
Marinate the chicken chunks overnight then fry the onion, ginger, garlic and spices lightly in vegetable oil until fragrant, add the tomato puree and diced tomatoes, cook for a few minutes then add the chicken, stir to coat, add 1 cup of water and cook covered for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add the double cream (more or less depending on your tastes) and the bunch of chopped coriander, stir to incorporate.
Serve on steamed rice with naan bread on the side. Eat, reminisce.