Tonight I made chicken tikka masala for the third time in the last month and a half. And naan. Food is difficult for me because I've never been particularly willing to try a lot of stuff (because autism, I suppose), and I very much get into routines that I don't like to deviate from. If I'm to give myself a little credit though, me eating Indian food is a crazy thing that me from 20 years ago would never do. So progress, right? But when I try to make something myself, I'm usually in pursuit of trying to recreate something I had in a restaurant. I get fixated on trying to recreate that taste.
Remember my Vaguely Asian Noodles? That obsession started after a visit to Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World. That took years to get right, before I landed on the recipe in that blog post, edited many times over. The result still isn't quite what I had the restaurant, which had a little more citrus to it, but I do like where I arrived. The tikka masala is challenging for a couple of reasons. For one, I know they're not using already-made tandoori seasoning like I am, and they're probably using way more of everything fragrant than any recipe I find. My third try needed more salt, and heat (tried a new chili powder this time), but it's not bad. I need to go back to my favorite restaurant and get it there again, see if I can decipher what's in it. Honestly, I think part of what's missing is the just the smell associated with a typical Indian restaurant.
I've also been messing around with making naan, which failed hard the first two tries because the yeast I had was clearly dead. Bought some today that doesn't expire until some time next year, and it got foamy and it did rise. The result still wasn't quite as light as what I'd expect in a restaurant, so I think I need to roll it thin and reduce the heat a bit. I'll figure it out.
If I'm really interested in exploring cooking though, I'll need to not get stuck on one thing for so long. Because at this rate, I'll get through five or six more dishes before I'm dead. 🙂