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Good morning everyone.
Before we get started I have to address the elephant in the room.
The death of Anthony Bourdain by suicide.
As I write these words it’s only been a few hours since I read about his death so I’m going through all of the various emotions that come with that. I just wanted to say Bourdain was a massive influence on me, my cooking, my food experimentation and my outlook on life, especially when I travel. Tony was a fearless eater, a man of wisdom and tolerance and a major player in the food world. I can’t say that he was a personal influence on me since I only discovered him in the last 15 years or so. I can say he was a contemporary since I too had already dealt with decades of drug and alcohol use and the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle, it just turned out that he was doing it all along as well. Like Tony, I was able to beat a pretty goddamn fearsome drug addiction and have remained free of that addiction for almost 30 years. I don’t have a problem with alcohol because I enjoy it too damn much.
Tony’s travel shows, No Reservations and Parts Unknown were both appointment viewing for me. The locales, the food and the production values were incredible and on a selfish note I will be sad that no new episodes will be forthcoming.
I won’t begin to address the issue of depression since doing so with my very limited knowledge of it would be irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst.
Please, if you are suffering from depression see your doctor. There is help out there and if it get’s really tough please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
There was an episode of No Reservations where Anthony visited Missouri and met one of his favorite authors – and mine as well – Daniel Woodrell. They went on a late night boat trip to go “gigging for sucker fish” on the Current River and encountered a mishap. Woodrell fell face first into their boat and ended up with a broken shoulder. On the episode Tony said something along the lines of “Now I worry that I’ve killed my hero.”
Of course I have read Kitchen Confidential and to this day I won’t eat sushi on a Monday, I never order anything from the brunch menu and I stay away from the “Manager’s Special.”
I won’t say that he’s in a better place because my belief is that there is no better place and this is the only existence we have a chance at. I will say that while I’m sorry the light has been extinguished, I am just happy that the light burned at all.
Good lord the man wanted to be a member of The Ramones so fucking bad.
I thought of skipping the recipes for the week and just paying tribute but I won’t.
The Gravy must go on!
Let’s continue on our world tour of gravy. Today’s menu takes us to…
India! Not to mention England.
We are going to make some Chicken Tikka Masala!
According to that Wikipedia link right there, chicken tikka masala has basically become one of the national dishes of England. The English have adapted it from their original encounter with the dish during their time of the British rule of India – or the British Raj era.
The English are quite adept at adapting cuisines of the world into their native culture and no dish sums up this adaptability like Chicken Tikka Masala.
Let’s get a good gander at today’s dish again.
Masala can be made with lamb, goat or seafood but I’m going with the ever popular chicken for this one. A masala is a spicy sauce, spiced but not hot spicy and it incorporates the protein of choice with some tomato, cream and spices. You can make this fucker as hot as you wish with the use of cayenne.
If you’re a regular reader you may harken back to earlier this year when we made an Ethiopian meal including “doro wat” which was chicken stewed in a spicy sauce with onion and tomato and you may think this recipe sounds pretty damn similar.
And you would be right!
You’re a smart motherfucker!
The doro wat reminded me A LOT of Indian food. It simply used a spice blend called “berbere” while Indian dishes use “garam masala”. Many other parts of the preparations are indeed similar.
Today’s inspiration came from one of my friends after she noticed my Instant Pot recipes. She asked if I ever made Instant Pot chicken tikka masala and I had not. After research I discovered that this is a pretty damn easy recipe to prepare on the stove top and decided on that method instead.
Besides! I have a new stove! Check this shit out!
I had to retire “Old Bessie” since she was about 25 years old and had recently started an unpleasant habit of self ignition. As in the motherfucker fired itself up without anyone turning the oven on. It either had a fried thermostat or we were dealing with some serious poltergeist shit and either way I wanted that fucker gone.
Hence! New stove.
Enough blathering on let’s make some…
Chicken Tikka Masala!
recipe heavily inspired by this recipe on Cafedelites.com.
2 Pounds of chicken. I used half boneless/skinless breast and 1/2 boneless/skinless thighs cut into chunks.
1 cup of plain yogurt. I used Greek yogurt having had success in the past. Remember the grilled za’atar chicken? Oh my yes.
4 cloves of garlic minced.
1 tablespoon of ginger minced.
Juice of 1/2 lemon.
2 teaspoons of garam masala.
1 teaspoon of turmeric.
1 teaspoon of cumin.
1 teaspoon of chili powder.
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne – here’s where you can fuck with the heat level.
1 teaspoon of salt.
2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
2 tablespoons of butter.
1 large onion chopped fine.
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger minced.
3 cloves of garlic minced.
2 teaspoons of garam masala.
2 teaspoons of cumin.
2 teaspoons of chili powder.
1 teaspoon of turmeric.
1 teaspoon of ground coriander.
1 teaspoon of cayenne. Again, want to up your spice level? Do so here.
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce.
1 teaspoon of salt.
10 ounces of heavy cream.
1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Let’s get the party started here.
Gather your ingredients together for the marinade.
Cut up your chicken into bite size chunks. What? An inch or two in size? Sure.
Dump that yogurt into a medium size bowl. Next add in the spices, garlic, ginger and lemon juice.
Give this shit a big ol’ stir!
Next place your cut up chicken bits into a 1 gallon freezer bag and then add in the yogurt marinade. Make sure everything gets all covered and marinade-y.
Sock this bag of goodness into your refrigerator for at least an hour and up to overnight. Mine went about 3 hours.
Let the marinated chicken come up to room temp and let’s go ahead and build this tasty bastard.
Using a non-stick skillet or Dutch oven – tomato sauce, right? – place over a medium high heat. Add in the cooking oil and let’s brown that chicken, coated in marinade and all.
Work in batches here to avoid overcrowding the pan. Brown for maybe 3-4 minutes per side. The chicken will finish cooking in the masala sauce later so it doesn’t have to be completely cooked through.
Finish browning all of the chicken.
Using the same pan, over medium heat add in the butter.
Yep, we’re adding the butter directly to the pan that still has some of the leftover marinade in it.
Trust me. It works.
Now add in the minced onion.
Cook the onion until translucent, maybe 5-7 minutes. Be sure to use a wooden spoon to scrape up the ginger and garlic bits from the marinade. Next add in the minced ginger, garlic and spices. Give a quick stir and cook just until fragrant, maybe 30 seconds or so.
Here comes the tomato sauce to the happenings!
This will simmer on medium-low for about 15 to 20 minutes.
this would be a good time to prep some rice, recipe to follow.
When the sauce has thickened a little and turned a nice shade of red we will add in the heavy cream and the brown sugar.
Give a good stir and add in the browned chicken and chicken juices to the sauce.
This will cook for 10-12 minutes until the chicken gets nice and tender. Serve over some turmeric rice.
This should look familiar from our macadamia crusted halibut steak recipe. Although I didn’t add nuts to the rice this time.
1 cup of jasmine or basmati rice.
1/2 onion minced fine.
2 cloves of garlic minced.
1 tablespoon of butter.
1 tablespoon of turmeric.
2 cups of chicken stock.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Get out a sauce pan and place over medium heat. Add in the butter until it melts. Next add in the rice and the onion and saute until the rice gets toasty and the onion cooks through. 5-7 minutes or so.
Toss in that turmeric and garlic and stir until fragrant and the rice has turned a lovely golden color.
You should know the drill from here. Add in the chicken stock, get it to a steady simmer, lower the heat to LOW, cover with a lid and leave undisturbed for 20 minutes.
When the 20 minutes have elapsed, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a spoon.
We gonna PLATE now!
Place some of the cooked rice on a plate, ladle over some of that delicious and savory masala sauce with the chicken and the spices and shit. If you want to sexy this fucker up sprinkle on some fresh parsley or chives and serve with a piece of naan. Yes, once again the naan is from my Indian restaurant located directly across the street.
Serve with beers and stand the fuck back!
The sauce is sweet, spicy, savory and the chicken is nice and tender. Everything works in unison here. The rice jumps in with its notes of onion, turmeric and garlic and the naan can be used to grab handfuls of the tikka masala thus enabling you to shove entire handfuls of this deliciousness directly into your awaiting gob!
As God intended!
You’re right, I’ve already discussed my theological beliefs with you.
This dish is easy to make. Incredibly satisfying and can be used to fully demonstrate your knowledge and expertise of world cuisine!
Thanks for being there.
I’ll try to be here for you should you need it.
May you find something good in this beautiful world.
Hey, did you know that Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan of Queens of the Stone Age wrote this?
Now you do!