KITCHEN BITCH: Making Chicken Tikka Time


kitchen-bitch2.thumbnail.jpgBY MAVIS LINNEMANN I fell in love with Indian food about 10 years ago, when one of my friends and I popped into a nondescript storefront selling curries and naan like McDonalds sells hamburger, with only two or three guys working the entire line and whipping up orders like it’s nobody’s business. As an Indian food virgin, I was drawn to a dish that was both exotic and familiar at the same time, one I was sure I couldn’t go wrong with, just because of the description, which probably went something like this: “Succulent pieces of yogurt-marinated chicken draped in a creamy, spiced tomato sauce.” Even now, just writing that description makes my mouth water. This amazing dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, is somewhat of a globetrotter. While the spices in it are of distinct Indian origin, the British and the Scots both claim to have invented it. How could the Brits or the Scots invent an Indian dish? Good old colonization. The Brits set up the East India Company to trade with the Indian subcontinent in the 1600s, but the Company eventually ruled over parts of India until the late 1850s. During this time, the British brought all the great spices they found in India to England, and the Brits, like me, were blown away. Subsequently, chicken tikka masala is now one of the most popular dishes in England and, in The Book of General Ignorance, authors Lloyd and Mitchinson claim that it’s “Britain’s true national dish.” MORE

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