Hello, my name is Amy and I’m addicted to Chicken Tikka Masala.
There. I’ve said it. It feels good to have gotten that out in the open. Now, we can talk honestly with each other. My husband and I have been eating Chicken Tikka Masala with naan every Sunday night for about two years now. We shutter with anticipation as each Sunday night approaches. When we’re out of town, we promptly locate an Indian restaurant so we can be sure to get our food fix. I ate so much Chicken Tikka Masala during my second pregnancy (including the night I went into labor), that I was surprised my son didn’t come out with a piece of naan in his hands. We should probably look into some sort of support group or therapy.
It all started a couple years ago, when we had an itch to try something different. We scoured the list of restaurants in the area and decided that Indian food sounded good. We selected a few things, all new to us, and called in the order. My husband picked up our food, neatly packaged in small, plastic containers stacked in an unassuming brown paper bag. There was no way of knowing how the contents of that bag would change our lives.
We each took a little of everything – a little mixed tandoor grill, a little lamb vindaloo, some raita… Yum, yum, and yum! And, then it happened. We tasted the Chicken Tikka Masala. Oh, and the naan! The naan! In an instant rush of food ecstasy, we were hooked. The following week we decided that we would skip the other stuff, pass up an opportunity to try something new, and order two servings of Chicken Tikka Masala with naan. It turned out that two servings could feed us for two nights. So we had leftovers for dinner the next day. A few days later, we went back for more. That’s how it was for the first few months. We ate Chicken Tikka Masala and naan a few times each week. Eventually, we settled on a Sunday night ritual with the occasional extra order here and there. So, you see, we’ve got the situation totally under control! Nothing unusual happening over here…
Chicken Tikka Masala is sort of a funny dish. Basically, it’s composed of chunks of marinated chicken in a creamy, spiced tomato sauce. Sounds simple enough, but run a search for recipes and you’ll find a long list of completely different recipes, using different ingredients, different spices, and different cooking techniques. One recipe will call for yogurt, the next calls for cream, still another calls for coconut milk. The source of spiciness varies too, some recipes using chopped jalapeno while others use ground red chile or cayenne. Some recipes include peppers and onions. Some even incorporate ground almonds or cashews into the sauce. I’ve tried making it a few times, experimenting with recipes I found online and also concocting my own versions, but I haven’t gotten it quite right yet. It’s been good, but not what I’m looking for. I’ve considered calling up the Indian restaurant that we frequent and begging for their recipe. My kitchen-avoiding husband (who once put a frozen pizza in the oven on its cardboard packaging) even tried his hand at making naan. Now, that’s commitment!
There is some dispute regarding the exact origin of Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s most likely not a traditional Indian dish. Some even consider it to be the true national dish of Britain. To be honest, we don’t really care where it came from. We’re just happy it came.
There will definitely be more attempts at making Chicken Tikka Masala myself. I’ll keep trying until I get it right. Until then, we will continue to frequent our favorite Indian restaurant weekly, to keep our cravings in check. I wonder if I can convince my husband to install a tandoor oven in our garage…
P.S. I’ve got something yummy in store for tomorrow!