…and I mean it. It’s nothing like the chicken tikka masala and aloo gobi I have at my favorite Indian place Surya and default neighborhood joint Sonali. (Ouch, no love, Yelp?)

But when I had a bowl of half an onion leftover from God knows when (but not fuzzy, yay!), and still more roast chicken leftovers, I decided to try to make chicken that would taste good with the only Indian dish I can make somewhat well, aloo gobi. Aloo gobi… my all time favorite. I always order this whenever I go to an Indian restaurant. And chicken tikka masala was what I had for my first Indian meal, at a little hole in the wall near my high school, Stuyvesant.

I’d spent some off-time during the day browsing recipes for chicken tikka masala and decided I could probably make do with the spices I had and… when did I buy that little tub of cream that is still sitting in the fridge? Shake test proves: still liquid, good! Sniff test proves: not stinky, perfect! I gathered into my arms, my little pile of old-but-not-yet-moldy ingredients. And here, my chicken tikka masala and aloo gobi inspired dinner. Let’s start with what I know:

Aloo Gobi

  • cauliflower
  • 1/4 of an onion, diced
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • tomato paste
  • spices needed: cumin seeds, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, chili powder, paprika, ground coriander, garam masala

Heat oil in a pot, and when hot, add cumin seeds. Sautee for a bit, making sure it doesn’t burn, and add the onions, then tomato and tomato paste. Toss in the cauliflower, with a little bit of water, stick a lid on it and wait until cauliflower is almost soft, and then add all the other spices (I scoop each out with a 1/4 tsp and sometimes add more cumin because I like the taste), except for garam masala. When everything is well mixed up you can either add a bit of peas, or skip that and season with salt. Sprinkle a bit of garam masala as a finish.

“Chicken Tikka Masala”

  • leftover chicken (already cooked)
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • tomato paste
  • a slice of ginger
  • spices used: cumin seeds, cumin, curry powder, ground coriander, garam masala
  • a splash of cream

Start the same way with aloo gobi: heat oil, cumin seeds, onion, tomato, and a bit of tomato paste. Add the slice of ginger and seasonings, using the 1/4 tsp again. Add water to the pot if it looks too dry, and toss in the chicken. While it is heating up, splash a bit of cream into, salt to taste.

Easy! And completely the wrong way to do it. It tasted nothing like chicken tikka masala. Just an Indian flavored shredded chicken dish. And that rice…? Another leftover from takeout that passed the sniff and texture (fuzz free) test. Tonight would’ve been a great night to get some proper Indian food! Anyone looking for a date?