Good Indian food is hard not to love. When I open my spice cupboard I'm instantly transported to a magical land full of aromas and color and when we're cooking - well, you can probably imagine. When someone says Chickin Tikka Masala most people who know Indian food knows it's a tomato creme sauce with a strong Garam Masala flavor to it.What most people don't know is that it's a dish that was created in London and has become so popular there that the Brits have declared it the national dish. The proprietor of my favorite local Indian restaurant (Clay Pit - Mill Creek WA) said that 90 percent of the people they serve order Chicken Tikka Masala because that's the most known and recognized dish. Mill Creek is a predominantly white community so this makes sense. We've eaten Indian food all over the world and it's a shame that people don't get better accustomed to some of the other dishes as they're wonderful as well. The influence Chicken Tikka Masala has had on other Indian dishes has been dramatic so much so that cooks are adding Garam Masala to a lot of other dishes to make them more appealing to customers addicted to Chicken Tikka Masala. This I think is unfortunate but a reality nonetheless. Anyway we've been working on a Chicken Tikka Masala recipe at home and we're about 90% there. On first bite it comes off as being a bit flat but things build as you proceed. What I'd like is for the flavor to be stronger and the heat identical. Outside of that I think we're about there.
You may already know that Chicken Tikka is cooked in a tandoori and I don't have one. To get around this I marinate the kebabs in the yogurt/spice mix and put them as close to the broiler as possible. This may mean you put the rack on the topmost slot and then invert a sheet pan in order to get the kebabs closer. I'm also experimenting with making naan in a similar fashion. A tandoori runs at about 800 degrees and my oven will hit 550 so by heating the oven with a Pizza stone up under the broiler I may be able to similate a tandoori. More on that later. I have a few more changes to my Chicken Tikka Masala recipe before I post it but it will be coming in the next month or so.