Teaching Tim 2 - Tips on making Chicken Tikka Masala
Every day it becomes harder and harder to make a food blog stand out in any way from the multitude of new and simply amazing creations out there in Food Blog Land. But I think I have something that sets me aside from the rest of the crowd. How many other Food Blogs can boast a pin-up? And a male one no less. Yes, girls, Tim has been back in my kitchen and once again I am kind enough to share him with all of you. Since I gave Tim his first cooking lesson just over a month ago, he has been the focus of quite some attention with my readers. A local journalist told me that all of her friends were rather delighted by him, and when I went for dinner, recently, with a bunch of local cute, young, female food bloggers, they were almost begging me to let Tim into each of their charges for lessons in the future.
As we were in the middle of India, Spice & Curry Week at Becks & Posh, I suggested Tim should come over and learn to make that classic faux Indian English dish Chicken Tikka Masala. I took the recipe from Healthy Indian Cookery which I will lend to Tim when he wants to try this at home. This post is dedicated to giving him extra tips to help him as he tries to follow the recipe by himself.
The apron look is just so adorable! [Quote from a comment after Tim's last appearance on my blog]
First we made Tikka Paste. This involves a lot of different spices. As Tim lives in San Francisco I recommend he visits Bombay Bazar to stock up on everything he needs. I suggest to Tim that he should makes the paste in advance as the paste can be kept in the refrigerator. The recipe in the book makes enough paste to create two batches of Chicken Tikka Masala.
The recipe calls for red and yellow food colouring to give it a more vibrant colour. Preferring a more natural result, we all decided that this wasn't necessary.
The paste can be kept in the fridge in some sterilised jars. Here are some tips to help Tim with the sterilisation process (if he can be bothered). My translation (they make it sound over-complicated) is put the jars and their lids in a large pan of near boiling water. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove with tongs and put on the oven shelf at low heat to dry out for 20 minutes. Leave to cool before filling with paste.
Tim dices the chicken, minces the onion, grates the ginger and mixes the meat with the spice and yogurt mixture. I suggested to Tim that before he starts chopping things up, he should read through the recipe carefully and measure out any of the spices he will need into small containers. Better still he could do this part the day before, especially if he is cooking for a date. The less he has to do in front of a dinner guest the better. Organisation is the key.
The chicken is grilled before being added to the curry sauce. Skewers are used for ease of turning the meat. My tip to Tim is to soak the skewers in water for 24 hours in advance in order to try and stop them burning. On this occasion we slightly overcooked the chicken. I suggest reducing the cooking time a few minutes and testing the inside of one of the pieces to avoid this problem in future.
There isn't much liquid in the masala sauce, even so, use quite a large pan, this stuff spits and splatters all over the place.
I blended the sauce in the pan with a hand mixer. This was pure laziness on my part. At the same time I lectured Tim on how he shouldn't follow my lead, but that he transfer the sauce to a proper tall-sided blending container before doing it himself. Showing off a little I told him that because of my years of experience, I would be able to manage it, myself, just fine. Famous last words! I covered the kitchen in blobs of tomato and I had to clean up the mess.
The final result. Quite delicious, extremely fragrant and flavourful. Serve over rice.
Fred, spoilt by his recent meal at Darbar told me that next time I make it, he doesn't want the healthy version made with low fat yoghurt and barely any oil. I guess that means the remaining tikka paste, I have in my fridge, is going to have to make friends with the butter and the cream instead. ..