Monday, May 11, 2015

British-Indian Fusion

No, tonight's recipe is not part of my Meals Around the World project. Although many people associate chicken tikka masala with Indian cuisine, it is in fact of British origins. What? How can such a classic dish served at almost every Indian restaurant be British? According to Wikipedia, the story goes like this:

On a typical dark, wet Glasgow night a bus driver coming off shift came in and ordered a chicken curry. He sent it back to the waiter saying it's dry. At the time chef Ali Ahmed Aslam (proprietor of the Shish Mahal restaurant in the west end of Glasgow),  had an ulcer and was enjoying a plate of tomato soup. So he said why not put some tomato soup into the curry with some spices. They sent it back to the table and the bus driver absolutely loved it. He and his friends came back again and again and he put it on the menu.

I don't know the level of reliability surrounding this account, but today chicken tikka masala is one of the national dishes of the United Kingdom. I guess the British loved the Indian food they experienced during their period of colonizing India that they had to return home and adapt the flavors and style of the cuisine to their local ingredients and preferences. It just goes to show how small the world really is. | Chicken Tikka Masala (1)

Chicken Tikka Masala
2 chicken tenders, cut into 1” cubes
1- 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
¼ cup chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped jalapeño pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder
¼ cup flour
3 tbsp oil
salt and pepper, to taste
cilantro, to garnish
basmati rice, to serve

Preheat your broiler and line a baking pan with tin foil. Combine 1 tsp garam masala, ½ tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper powder, 3 tbsp flour, and a dash each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Dredge the chicken in the mixture, arrange on the pan, and broil for 4 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oil, garlic, ginger, onion, and jalapeno over medium heat in a small pot. Once the onions are translucent, stir in the remaining seasonings (1/8 tsp cayenne pepper powder, 2 tsp garam masala, ½ tsp cumin, salt, and pepper). Cook for about a minute, whisk in the flour, and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, stir in the cream, bring back to a simmer, and then serve topped with cilantro alongside basmati rice.

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