Chicken Tikka Masala

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I’m no expert in cooking but I love good food. Now it’s time to stay longer in the kitchen and see if the magic WOKS with me, one recipe at a time.

Chicken tikka masala is a dish of chunks of chicken in a spicy (masala), creamy, orange-colored sauce. There is no standard recipe for this dish. As a matter of fact, according to a 1998 survey by Real Curry Restaurant Guide, there are around 48 different recipes of chicken tikka masala.

Thanks to the recipe I got from allrecipes.com, I was very pleased with my first attempt.  I was too pleased and concentrating too much with the cooking to the extent that I totally forgot to take photos! So I decided to do it again, making sure I will take snapshots. I chose a different recipe this time around, from JamieOliver.com to be exact.

Marinating the chicken

1. Blitz the chilli, garlic, ginger and vegetable oil in the food processor. Add the paprika, garam masala and tomato puree, plus the coriander stalks, and blitz again to form a paste. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, coat them with the marinade and leave in the fridge overnight.

Blame it on my TGIF high but I ended up taking a single shot of chicken chunks ready to be marinated overnight. Nonetheless I followed this step religiously, but compared to the previous attempt, the former only required me to marinate the chicken for 2 hours. The marinade mix was also different; it has yogurt, garam masala, paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and coriander instead. I’d say as early as now, the marinade did make the difference. Verdict to follow, as we move along.

The next day…

2. In a little vegetable oil, on a medium heat, fry the onion, peppers and spices in a large saucepan.

Sizzle, sizzle.

3. Cook gently for 10 minutes then add the tin of tomatoes and the yoghurt.

4. Add the chicken pieces and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked.

5. Just before serving, stir through the double cream and chopped coriander leaves.

Almost cooked and ready (sans the coriander leaves)
The verdict then…

With the first recipe, I had to oven-bake the chicken until the pieces were cooked. Then onto the main pan, I sauteed cumin seeds, onions and tomatoes, along with other ingredients like garlic, ginger and green chiles, cooking and stirring them very well until they were cooked (as properly adviced by the recipe itself!). The magic spices (garam masala, coriander and turmeric) came after and after a few seconds, the cooked chicken and cream were mixed.

Though Jamie Oliver’s recipe appears to be a lot easier to follow compared to the other from allrecipes.com, I liked the latter recipe more. My first chicken tikka masala was more aromatic and delicious. The cumin seeds gave the delectable aroma, while these simple but potent ingredients – garlic, ginger, chile peppers, green chiles, salt and pepper – made my chicken tikka very tasty (and spicier, too), which the second recipe missed. I guess the double cream I used for my second try made the tikka sauce less thick (a bit watery). I used chicken thighs on both recipes but following the second one, I wasn’t too keen to ensure the chicken was properly cooked as I just followed the allotted minutes to cook the chicken with the sauce. So, the chicken pieces, particularly thigh parts, weren’t cooked very well.

Overall, I did enjoy making chicken tikka masala. I bet this is gonna be one of the dishes I’ll make more regularly in the future.

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