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A Common Obsession

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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.

The bag

The contents

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 with Aromatic Basmati Rice and Naan

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!


6 responses »

  1. My husband LOVES Indian food and I like it too (except for that one time that I got sick after eating it so now I sometimes have an aversion…anyways, that’s a whole ‘nother story!). Anyways, we can’t afford to eat out too often these days (and I have not ventured into making Indian dishes from scratch yet!). When we were at Kroger the other day, they had Naan in the bakery. It was pre-packaged of course, so not nearly as good as at a restaurant, but still not bad. Also, we sometimes get the sauce pre-packaged too from Kroger and just add chicken. Our favorite is the Butter Chicken. Again, not nearly as good as restaurant quality, but it fends off my husband’s urges for Indian food!

  2. Amy – I’m loving this, I think you have nothing to be nervous about. =) As a fellow food-obsessed mom, I’m looking forward to your thoughts, and your photos are great! I agree with whoever told you on FB you should do food photography. I’m wondering which is your favorite Indian rest. in Syracuse – we used to frequent Sakuntala, and I too had an uncontrollable obsession with their masala, to the point where I learned how much I could eat of it that would bring me just to the brink of sick, but not over the edge. A disgusting, gluttonous habit, or a stroke of genius? I preferred to think of it as the latter.

  3. Amy ~ what a wonderful blog! I would call up that restaurant and ask for the recipe ~ I used to live close to a restaurant that made the best shahi paneer I have ever tasted…and I live in India and I have tasted a lot 😉 well I never asked them for the recipe always just thinking that I would be able to go over and get some and all the sudden they were shut down and out of business! I still remember the taste of that dish…and that was close to 7 years ago…if you like it…I would ask for it…you never know how long it will be around for!

  4. Pingback: Chicken Tikka Masala « The Gourmand Mom

  5. I, too, am obsessed with chicken tikka masala. The Paneer and lamb versions, as well. I never order anything else when I get Indian food because I just get these intense cravings for it! And yes, the naan is a must!

  6. Wow you just told my story! A year ago I felt “meh” in regard to indian food. Now I am obsessed with Chicken TM. As in, I’ve had it almost every day for a few weeks now. Back in the day, my boyfriend wanted me to try indian, since he liked it, and then I started to crave it occasionally. Then we started ordering it on Sunday nights (just like you!!)…then we started getting it a couple times a week. The first naan dip in the sauce = heaven. Luckily I live in NYC and we have 6 indian places in my neighborhood that deliver, so I rotate which places I order from. Simply because I don’t want the delivery guys to think I’m crazy….eee. 🙂


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The Gourmand Mom

Good food, seasoned with a dash of life

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