Food

Pro Chef Tries to Make Chicken Tikka Masala Faster Than Delivery | Taking on Takeout | Bon Appétit

Pro Chef Tries to Make Chicken Tikka Masala Faster Than Delivery | Taking on Takeout | Bon Appétit

– I would say I’m highly competitive. Let’s not pretend. I’m incredibly competitive. And Harold and Chrissy both succeeded, and they beat the clock, so I will make sure that I do the same. – Can I help you? – Hi, I’d like to place an order for delivery.

– So what’s your order, sir? – An order of chicken tikka masala with basmati rice. – Okay. – That’s it. – Okay, and- – And how long do you think that’ll take? – 10 minutes. – Wait, 10 minutes? – Can you give us around 30 minutes, sir? 30 minutes.

– Sure. 30 minutes is fine. – Thank you. – Okay. Okay, 30 minutes. I’m going in already, so- – Wait, start the timer. Andy, start the timer. – I did! I’m gonna grab my cast iron.

I’m gonna preheat it. Okay, that fits. What else? I spoke to Palak a little while ago, and she gave me a lot of helpful techniques and tips about what makes a great tikka masala. Hi Palak, how are you? – Great, how are you, Andy? – What are the main characteristics that makes a great tikka masala? – So the consistency of the sauce.

You cannot have a runny sauce. The balance of flavors so all of the spices play well together. It’s not too tangy, not too spicy. The way that the chicken is prepared. So it’s marinated, it’s got a char on it, the right color.

And then rice, basmati rice that is not sticking together. Each one of the kernels is nice and fluffy. – I’m rinsing my rice. – Is 30 minutes as much time as you hoped? – No, of course not! If I had more time, I would take my time, rinse it in a bowl, and tilting the water out and then soak it with salted water for at least 30 minutes, and then I would parboil it and then drain it.

But I don’t have that. I don’t have any time anymore. This is the marinade for the chicken. A little bit of whole milk yogurt, full fat. Typically I would peel my ginger, but I don’t have time today.

It’s not gonna be necessarily a proper marinade ’cause the chicken’s not gonna be able to sit in there for too long. – So yogurt tenderizes the chicken. Traditionally, you could use a chicken with bone or boneless, but because you have a short amount of time, I would go for boneless skinless thighs, like a darker meat that’s already full of flavor, and then definitely ginger garlic.

We consider that one ingredient, but ginger garlic paste, two things marinaded into the chicken, some lemon juice to help start the tenderization. Traditional spices would be some cayenne for a little heat, a little bit of turmeric, coriander, and cumin powder.

That’s the basic just to give the chicken flavor and jumpstart the process. – If you hear that annoying noise that sounds like an airplane engine, it’s not. It’s just this ridiculous event that is too noisy.

I’m swear I’m not yelling at you. And if it does sound like I’m yelling, I’m more just frustrated at the circumstances that I’m in right at this very moment. Okay, so that’s our yogurt mixture.

I’ll add some salt. Oops. The restaurant vibe is probably a lot calmer than this. I’m just scoring the chicken thighs just to really get that marinade in there. Probably shouldn’t be doing because I have no time, but we’ll see.

Oh, I forgot to season the chicken with salt. I’m thinking that my skillet is smoking. A little bit of ghee, which I know is not typical, but I’m just adding it right now so that the bottom could get some color, too.

I guess, what is the best way to prepare the chicken? ‘Cause I imagine the proper way is to do it in a tandoor. – So a tandoor is basically a clay oven. It’s very popular in India, and the reason is because it gets to be about 900 degrees.

So as soon as something goes in there, it’s charred. Think of like a pizza oven. That’s our pizza oven. So to replicate this at home, I recommend that maybe you can use your oven broiler to get that nice char on the chicken and fake it out.

– Okay, so the chicken’s good to go. We’re mimicking a kind of tandoor-like situation that Palak was mentioning. I preheated the cast iron skillet and the boiler’s on so the chicken gets a nice sear underneath and on top.

Okay, my rice is coming to a simmer. That says 18 minutes. Chicken is searing, rice is cooking. Now I’m making the sauce. Typically, I would chop them, but that takes a little bit, a few seconds more.

– Didn’t you beat Bobby Flay at chopping onions? – I did beat Bobby Flay at chopping onions. I didn’t beat him in the competition, but I feel like it was rigged, and I wouldn’t just say that.

I feel like a lot of people said that. I’m cooking the onion high heat, and then I’m adding some water to just have them soften really quickly. With the sauce, I’m just trying to get the aromatics going as fast as possible.

I have my grated ginger. I’m gonna try to grate some garlic. This is a new Microplane, so it’s particularly sharp. It has bit me already a few times. Do you understand my pain at this moment? 15 minutes.

– Do you feel like you’re halfway done? – No, I do not feel like I’m halfway done at all. Let’s see. Let’s check the chicken. Still needs to go to. Ginger and garlic is going in.

Now I’m just gonna throw in my spices, they’re gonna bloom, they’re in a warm through, the oils are gonna get extracted, and you’re gonna be actually tasting all those different spices. Kashmiri red chili powder, two tablespoons tomato paste, fenugreek leaves, coriander, cumin, coriander, cayenne.

I’m gonna add a cinnamon stick, some pepper. Normally I would make a sachet of a cinnamon, peppercorn, and crushed cardamom. I can’t do that this time around ’cause I don’t have a sachet. – So tikka masala, because there is a tomato component and spices, the idea is so that the cream, the spice, and all the flavors blend really nicely together, and that happens when you have time to cook out all the spices.

But in your case, tomato paste is a great step to try and amplify that cooked tomato taste without all the time of spending hours reducing your regular tomatoes. So I think that can definitely work. – I’m just adding water here to deglaze the bottom.

There’s some brown bits. And then I’ll add some of the whole peeled tomatoes that’ll add some acidity, and I’ll cook that down as well. But you have to be building up. I can’t just be adding everything all at once, even though, at this point, I really would want to.

Ooh. Eight minutes. I’m gonna pull my chicken out to cool because I know it’s gonna be very, very hot. Ooh! I need two towels. That doesn’t look terrible. I’m gonna blend the sauce.

Trying to pick out the cinnamon and the cardamom. I’m gonna add a little bit of water to this. I’m gonna take these chicken pieces. I have some of the chicken juices.

I wanted to blend them up. Totally unnecessary but just for flavor. It’s just so they’re not oily and they’re blended. That’s that. All of you guys are impressed with me right now, and I know it.

I’m gonna add the pieces, a little bit maybe bigger than usual, but I like them a little bit chunkier, and then I’ll add some cream. Hello? Delivery. Sure. We’ll be there in two minutes.

Thank you. – What happened? – Delivery’s here. – How much time do you have left? – A minute and a half. I’m not gonna go until I have acknowledged that I beat the time. I’m done. I am.

My rice is ready. There’s ghee on my rice. I need a bowl. I need a bowl, plate. I don’t even know. Did I not win? I should also not let the delivery man wait.

They just called me earlier than expected. I wanted to beat my 30 minutes, like they said. Okay, so delivery’s here. Let’s clean up a bit and then see how they compare. Okay, so I do think like the rice here is a little bit maybe a touch too much water, and you could see that the grains have stuck together.

Smells really good. What’s interesting is they used ajowan here, ajowan seeds, which I wish I did, but that’s okay. Next is the tikka masala, which the color does look nice. But I will say, I think it’s a little bit maybe too runny.

The color tells me that they used more cream, and I would be happy to use more cream. I don’t know. That was definitely something I could have done. I think my sauce is a touch grainier, which I wanna say it doesn’t bother me, but that’s a lie.

I wish I added a bit more cream and that I just went a little bit longer in pureeing everything. – Let’s start with the takeout. Definitely chicken breast. Dry as a rock. With the chicken breasts, I find that anytime it goes past 150 degrees internal temperature, it dries out, and in this case, it did get a little bit dry.

That’s why I think for something like chicken tikka masala, chicken thighs make more sense ’cause they have higher fat and they’re more forgiving and you can cook them longer. The sauce just goes into the rice.

Quite sweet from the cream. It’s not spice forward. I would say it’s definitely one of the more mellow and mild chicken tikka masalas I’ve ever had. Okay, we’re gonna taste mine. There’s a little bit more heat.

There’s a little bit more flavor. There’s a little bit more seasoning. No, don’t even try to like make me out to whatever. I was in it, and I put salt in everything, and I also feel very lucky that I had all the ingredients that I needed to make this.

It is more tomato forward for sure. I don’t think I put too much tomato. I think I didn’t put enough cream. That’s one thing. I loved the broiling method would keep that in. But really, if I had to change, the two things would be add a bit more cream and make sure the sauce is a little bit smoother.

I’m happy with this. This is more of a like a casual, Oh my God, I have 30 minutes to film this kind of rice. – It definitely felt pretty casual. – Yeah, I made a mess. So Palak mentioned the four different elements for chicken tikka masala, the first being the sauce.

I think here, I definitely almost caught the consistency right. Still pretty smooth. While I do like the color of the takeout place, I do think it’s a little bit thin, so somewhere in between feels right.

But the chicken, I’m glad that I use chicken thighs and then making the slits and then doing the preheated cast iron and broiler methods seemed to really help because you’ve got some charred bits and added some smoky flavor that mimicked the tandoor.

And then when it came to the balance of flavors, that was probably the hardest thing ’cause we, well, I did not have a lot of time. I definitely got a nice balance. I’m getting a lot of warm spices. Nothing is fighting from one another.

It’s not turmeric heavy. The only thing that I think it does need is a touch more cream. And then the fourth element, the rice, I think the fact that we started with a high quality Sella basmati helped.

I let it rest and steam off heat for about 10 minutes and then throw in some ghee and tossed that. That just added some flavor and helped the grains separate even more. The takeout spot, while they had the ajowan, which I like, the rice is a lot more clumpy and broken.

I would go with my rice. What is the goal here? Am I supposed to pick which one I’d eat or? – You’re asking how to have you won or not? – Yes, I’m asking what the is my prize. – All right, let’s talk about this ’cause here’s what happened ’cause you got a phone call while you were cooking, right? – Do not even go there because I’m not a revisionist, all right? This is what happened.

I will tell you what happened. I got a phone call. It was before the 30-minute mark. Now they said 30 minutes, so whatever. They called, and I was done. I wasn’t plated, but I was done. I was done. And what I chose to do is let that poor person wait while I plated my dish.

I think the big question is one able to make a good chicken tikka masala in 30 minutes? In my opinion, no. And I also think this is such an iconic dish, and it should be given room to breathe and cook.

So clearly, while I made chicken tikka masala in under 30 minutes, it obviously it takes a lot more time. I wouldn’t necessarily add a lot more ingredients or take away a lot more ingredients. I would just enjoy the process of making this dish.

But unfortunately, the crew here just wanted to watch me suffer for a bit. – How do you feel about your challenge versus Harold and Chrissy’s challenges? – Do I think this was the hardest one so far? That’s silly.

Yes. It was the hardest one so far. It was. I don’t want it to be, but it was.

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