This week, I felt like some comfort food for dinner, as we have just started to really get into autumn (although the warm daytime temperatures are lasting). With some leftover chicken in the freezer and my love of spicy (but not too hot!) food, I thought that the perfect choice would be chicken tikka masala.
I lived in London for 12 months about 6 years ago, and during that time, I learned that chicken tikka had replaced fish and chips as the British national dish. There are some absolutely super curry houses around Brick Lane in the East End that make delicious and inexpensive curries, including chicken tikka. However, I also had some abysmal chicken tikka while in London, featuring huge chunks of red "glow in the dark" chicken which was weirdly stored in large bowls in the unrefrigerated windows of take out stalls at markets such as Spitalfields and at convenience stores. Spurred on by the memory of some fabulous chicken tikkas from Brick Lane, I forged ahead with trying quite a few of these glowing abominations before giving them up as a bad job. Despite this, I have a soft spot for chicken tikka, as it always reminds me of my time in London.
Back in Oz, chicken tikka is commonly available at Indian restaurants, even though I believe that it is an entirely Anglicised concoction, and that traditionally, Indians would not make it.
To make the chicken tikka pictured at the top of this post, I used this recipe from Australian Good Taste. The only strange thing about this recipe is that it suggests the use of tandoori curry paste rather than chicken tikka curry paste. However, for once I obeyed the recipe, and I loved the resulting colour and flavour of the dish. As you can see, the chicken is orangey red, but nowhere near "glow in the dark". The inclusion of the spinach in the recipe is genius - it really makes the dish, with its green crispness contrasting nicely with the tender, spicy, orange coloured chicken. My only diversion from the recipe was to serve the curry with boiled rice instead of pappadums.
All I can say is - delish!