“Oh my goodness, I am an amazing cook,” I tell my family as we sit down around the big bowl of steaming savory goodness. “I nailed it. It’s perfect,” I add while my husband raises his eyebrows at me from across the table.
“Proud of yourself?” he asks.
My son makes quiet grunting noises while he eats, a sign that he’s thoroughly enjoying his meal. My daughter offers enthusiastic compliments. My husband sarcastically chides my lack of humility while piling a hearty portion of my masterpiece, chicken tikka masala, onto his plate.
It’s not like I take credit for inventing the dish. Props go to the culinary geniuses in India for developing such a delicious blend of spices, the beautiful, orange tomato cream sauce, the perfect chunks of succulent chicken, marinated in yogurt to keep them tender and juicy. All served over basmati rice — the rice that my family insists is probably pasta because of its elongated shape. (They’re wrong, it’s definitely rice.)
I ran across a variety of theories that this popular Indian food was actually invented somewhere in England. Or perhaps Scotland. In fact, there’s been legislation to designate its official origin as Glasgow. It also comes in many, many versions.
All this made me think, maybe I will stake my claim on inventing this particular version. As with any recipe, I have adjusted the ingredients and process to fit my whims. Some cooks make modifications to improve flavor. I modify to make things quicker and easier, sometimes because I’m missing an ingredient, or because a particular step requires more prep work than I’m willing to put in.
So today, I present you my own version of chicken tikka masala, along with all my shortcuts, approximations and ingredient switches. I have eliminated skewering and grilling the chicken, replaced elaborate spice combos with a simple Garam Masala. (Take a trip to one of the area’s Indian grocery stores to pick that up and plan to buy other spices while you’re there. I usually go to Namaste India at 105th & Metcalf.) Enjoy!
Overland Park mom and 913 freelancer Emily Parnell blogs at mom2momkc.com.