Keep Punkering Punkerwalla.
I'm Sweating like it was the Black Hole of Calcutta in here.
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Diary and Notes
They're making this harder for me. Not content with me trying to eat every possible thing that exists on the planet, people I know are issuing more difficult and bizarre amendments to the rules. The most pressing of these being the 'Friday night is curry night amendment.' This now requires me to have curry every Friday night (which is already a very large part of my exceedingly strict religion - the church of the latter day lapsed buddhists). The only problem is that I now have to think of 50 or so completely different curries to make. Other amendments I have been willing to accept are: Vegetarian week (will be about as much fun as nettle rash) and pork chop week, an odd challenge that involves me eating pork chops for dinner for a full seven days. Of course each day the meal being significantly different from all others. I'm looking forwards to pork chop week, it may fall some time soon.
So, as it's Friday, it must be curry. I've chosen one of the most famous of all curries, that fine British tradition: Chicken tikka masala. Now I don't normally make this, it's more of a 'trainer curry', reserved for young children and large arsed women called Sharron - two r's. (She's out on her hen night, it's freezing cold and she's dressed in a very tight mini-skirt and crop top. An inticing roll of belly hangs over her belt. A Tesco-kids dinosaur plaster conceals the bruising from her recent navel piercing. She's tastefully regailed with four hundred assorted condoms, an 'L' plate on her back and a bottle of Morrisons's Lambrusco tucked under her not so dainty, bingo winged, arms. Can't you just hear the words, 'Chicken tikka masala, pilau rice and a naan bread.' floating on the icy, November, Manchester breeze?)
Sorry, I lost the plot a bit there thinking of home and an old girlfriend. Anyway, for reasons that I will explain this is what's for dinner. My thought process went like this: I'm going to eat every curry known to mankind over the next year, many of which will be in restaurants with friends. When at these fine restaurants, staggering under the brain numbing strength of eight pints of bitter, I shall want to be able to order a good curry and not be left with just the sickeningly sweet and creamy CTM option. Thus, if I cook one for myself, make it good and spicy and have something tasty on the side, it wont be a disaster.
For an interesting article about this dish I recommend you visit sonzyskitchen.com. It is a testament to this odd combination of traditional Indian food and British curry house charm, that Robin Cook famously quoted it as being Britain's national dish. Give me a good lamb methi any day. However, I do love chicken tikka itself and a bit of sauce added can't be a bad idea. The recipe below was damn fine and would stand up well against any that you'll find at the local Taj-Mahal or Spice of Bengal. I don't have a proper tandoori oven to make the chiken tikka in, but if you get the normal oven good and hot, keep the chicken out of any liquid that might drip off and allow it to burn a bit, you'll have something nearly as good.
Hot chicken tikka masala,
Chutneys and raitas.
Black forest gateau. (Schwartzwelderkirschetorte in these parts)
Sheidgen, Hammersteiner in der ley Felsen 2002 (A German white wine supplied by a chum).
Chicken tikka masala: Chicken breast, tikka paste, garlic, lemon juice, chilli paste or powder, black pepper, ghee, cream, tomato puree, garam masala, salt, fresh coriander.
Tchiri: Basmati rice, green puy lentils, lemon juice, cinammon stick, cardamon pods, cloves, black pepper, ghee.
Paratha: Chapatti flour, ghee, water, salt, vegetable oil,
Raita number 1: Cucumber, natural yoghurt, mint sauce, black pepper, onion,
Raita number 2: Onion, tomato, lemon juice, sugar, chilli paste, tomato ketchup, tomato puree.
Chicken tikka masala: Firstly make your marinade. You can buy chicken tikka paste and this I recommend, but it needs spicing up quite a bit. Mince the garlic to a paste, add the chilli paste, some black pepper and lemon juice to the tikka paste. Chop your chicken into chunks and stir into the mix. Leave for at least four hours in the fridge. You can add some youghurt as well but if you're going to leave to marinade overnight the enzymes in the yoghurt will really affect the texture of the chicken. To make the chicken tikka: Get the oven really hot, shake off excess paste from chicken and save for later. Place the chicken on a tray above something to catch any drops and cook until singed at the edges. You will want to turn the pieces every now and again to ensure a good even cooking. When cooked, simply heat a little ghee in a pan and fry the spice mix you had reserved. Toss in the chicken, a little tomato puree and a drop of water. Stir to mix and cook for about three minutes, add a dash of cream, pinch of salt, some black pepper, a good sprinkling of garam masala and some fresh coriander. Serve and enjoy.
Tchiri: Rinse your basmati rice well, anyone who says otherwise doesn't cook rice very often. Simmer gently with a good squirt of lemon juice. When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water to prevent further cooking. Boil the lentils until soft in water and mix with the cooked rice. Fry the spices in a little ghee and then fry the lentil/rice mix in the oil.
Paratha: A paratha is like a chapatti but fried. Though not good for diets, they are delicious. Mix the flour, salt and a spoonful of ghee in a bowl and then pour over boiling water. Mix to a paste and then keep adding more flour until it thickens to a good dough which when you pick it up, it doesn't stick to your fingers. Kneed the dough well and leave to stand for ten minutes. Roll out into flat rounds (not as thin as chapattis though) on a well floured surface. To cook, take two of the round pancakes and layer them one on the other. Roll together with a rolling pin. (You can stuff tasty things inside as well). When you cook them, pat them between your hands to get any excess flour off, heat some oil in a frying pan, drop in the paratha and turn them when they puff up, don't worry if they burn just a little, that all adds to the taste. Drain on kitchen paper. Keep them warm in the oven.
Raita number 1: Chop the cucumber into little cubes, finely dice the onion. Mix all ingredients together and leave to chill for at least an hour.
Raita number 2: Very very finely slice the onion. Remove the seeds and chop the tomato into little bits. Mix the tomato ketchup, puree, chilli paste, sugar and lemon juice together. Stir the onion and tomato into this and again chill for a good hour.
I remade this on 8/11/2005 and took a photo. It was just as tasty as before.