Monday, April 25, 2005

Teaching Tim 2 - Tips on making Chicken Tikka Masala

photograph picture of Tim learning to cook 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.

photograph picture of Tim learning to cook chicken tikka masala, limp-handed tim stirs the ingredients for the tikka paste
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.

photograph picture  make the tikka paste in order to cook 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.

photograph picture of Tim learning to cook chicken tikka masala cutting the chicken

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.

photograph picture of Tim learning to cook chicken tikka masala chopping chicken, grating ginger, dicing chicken

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.

photograph picture of Tim learning to cook chicken tikka masala threading the chicken on skewers

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.

photograph picture of Tim learning to cook chicken tikka masala, the sauce simmers on the stove top

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.

photograph picture of Tim learning to cook chicken tikka masala, sam demonstrates how not too blend the sauce

The final result. Quite delicious, extremely fragrant and flavourful. Serve over rice.

photograph picture of Tim learning to cook chicken tikka masala, the result

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. ..

Been offline over the weekend? Check out posts you might have missed on our India, Curry and Spice theme. On Saturday my Naan disaster attracted a huge conversation in the comments section, mostly from Owen and Dr Biggles on how to build a Tandoor oven in your own back yard. On Sunday, I made the easy but delicious Indian dessert Shrikhand for IMBB # 14, theme Orange Food. Check out all the other entries here.
There is a new food blogging event this week that I am really quite excited about. Dining Out #1 Bar Fly on April 28th is a brilliant idea from Sarah at Delicious Life. Check it out, I hope you'll be able to join in.

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Teaching Tim 2 - Tips on making Chicken Tikka Masala


  • At 26/4/05 04:30, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This looks so delicious!

  • At 26/4/05 22:46, Blogger Alice said…

    Looks so very good in more ways than one! So when will you be sending Tim on 'assignments'???? :)

  • At 27/4/05 07:05, Blogger Sam said…

    sarah - next time i definitely am going to make it a little richer. The healthy version is really good though.

    alice - maybe you'll have to fight me for tim. I'll ask him what he thinks.

  • At 3/5/05 15:00, Blogger Brian W said…

    I think you should get Tim to start his own food blog.

  • At 4/10/06 07:31, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    thank you very much fore recipes of CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA, I have guest from India (Kerala)

  • At 22/10/06 07:26, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh I love Chicken Tikka Masala and your versions just looks delicious.

    My best friend from Culinary School is Indian and her Mom runs an Indian Catering in the Suburbs of Chicago. Thank God she always cooks way to much and my friends brings me some leftovers to school once in a while.

  • At 1/3/07 03:46, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i love chicken tikka masala curry it is the best ever and i am very good at making it lol


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