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Chicken Tikka Masala (alternate title being one more procrastination technique)

February 13, 2005

Okay I know I am posting twice in the same evening, but I just have to say I love this food. I discovered it in two important instances this summer, although in retrospect I think I ate it for dinner on a very awkward double date last spring at Shalimar Indian restaurant. I had it again last night at India Garden and it was just as good as I had remembered. Since I had leftovers I had it again for supper this evening and it was so good I just had to look around on the internet for it.

It is actually a dish native to Britain, created in the mid 1900s from the blending of the British obsession with gravy and Indian curry cooking. The story goes that apparently one obstinate Brit demanded gravy on his chicken tandorri and so the chef made up this blend of cream and tomato paste to accomendate him. The dish contains the spice of many typical Indian foods, combined with the mild sauce favored by the British, essentially creating my favorite food.

Now for my two main memories of it. The first was in N. Ireland on a day long hike with a bunch of senior campers. We had broken for lunch and due to the kitchen renovations taking place at Greenhill, Tristan (the senior camp director) and I had been unable to really pack ourselves a lunch. So we were on the mercies of our campers to provide us with food. One guy gave me an apple and one girl gave me half of her sandwich. A basic deli staple it was filled with this unusual curry type chicken salad. I asked her what it was and she gave me the response “tikka masala salad”. Although confused by the name I tried it and it was yummy! That got me hooked and so several weeks later when I was waiting in the Belfast airport waiting for my flight I tried the Chicken Tikka Masala in the airport restaurant and once again was amazed by how tasty the combination of tomato, chicken, and curry spices was.

So there you have it my ode to Chicken Tikka Masala.

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