Hey you love fools! Happy Valentine's Day to all you believers and celebraters and merry-makers. I hope this day or night turns out as romantic and as memorable as you imagine it and may it strengthen your bonds forever! Can I get an amen?
Well, to get things started let me just say that ironically enough (since this post is about food and love) I am not much of a V-DAY person! :( But my wife is, somewhere deep down inside, she SO IS! Which is why I decided to treat her to a recipe that she herself kicks ass at, but I tried to add a twist to it and made sure she felt appreciated. Nothing I won't do for my babay! Even if it means believing in pink and red Valentines Day.
But I want to set the mood right. Allow me please! Hit play and turn it up!
Yeah! I'm talking about this sandwich, and my lady! Two sexy things in my life right now. Especially the one you'll meet if you make this recipe: The Hot & Sexy Chicken Tikka Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It's hot, as in spicy, it's sexy, just look at it smoldering away and it's got smokey Chicken Tikka, charred to perfection, put to bed in a blanket of smooth cheeses, all encased in crunchy, hearty and buttery bread. Skinny-dip that sandwich in a punchy, citrus, cilantro créma for a refreshingly zesty finish. An oak IPA seals the deal. You're now in a committed relationship with this food.
If food could arouse at first sight, this might be it. So let's get this dinner date started. And to all you guys and dads and brothers and sons out there, this is FOR YOU too! You can do this! It is easy to impress in big ways with this stunner that has street food sophistication, written all over it.
Before we get to the deets, a word about my wife! Our resident happy 'spirit' 👻👀🙋 This is dedicated to Y❤️U. Hope I do your grilled cheese some justice with mine.
She is right now the happiest person I know. A thorough optimist, a happy-seeker and a happy-spreader, she is the one that dances to songs in our living room, wakes up smiling at me and our babies and reminds us that you don't need much in life to be happy. True story. And for that I love this girl. Also helps that I find her thoroughly pretty! I caught this happy ghost who appeared to be wearing a face mask, wandering and sniffing Chicken Tikka in our kitchen and I had to document the proof, to tell the world!
If you are anything like me, you love charred, smokey, Chicken Tikka! I mean I LOVE IT! And here's the dichotomy of my existence as an Indian-American, I love Grilled Cheese sandwiches too the same way, and I am forever looking to blend and fuse two strikingly contrasting food cultures to create something new, and maybe make new traditions along the way. This Chicken Tikka Sandwich is a result of that desire, and has been stuck in my mind for a while. To start things off, you'll need Chicken Tikka, a.k.a. Indian spiced barbecued chicken, a.k.a. the king of street meat in India, and above are the simple ingredients. Coriander powder, smoked paprika (Kashmiri Mirch), Greek yogurt, fresh ginger, garlic and lime juice.
If you're past this stage, congratulations you've almost made it through the hardest part of the recipe. Yeah, it's as easy as throwing all of those in a blender plus salt, and pureeing it.
Till you have a smooth, rich marinade.👇👇👇 Vibrant and quite beautiful in its own right. It is also an indication of the hue the chicken will take on, once it's grilled.
Then sleep over it, and let the chicken do the same. Marinade the chicken overnight for max tikka flavor. Then grill it in a super hot oven, and watch as the meat chars to a beautiful almost amber-like hue.
Now we make the dip, the dressing, the love sauce, fresh, zesty and luxurious. Again, ingredients in a food processor, cuz that's how we parents of 3 roll! Nice and quick and easy, but big on flavor.
Blend away till you have this 👇
And after this, it's just the traditional stuff. Bread and butter and the cheeses, I picked mozzarella and an aged sharp cheddar for pillowy comfort and an aged matured taste, wrapped in thick cut good ol' white bread. You could use brioche for extra richness, but my bakery was out of order on those, so we went with the simple classic.
Cut two thick slices of the bread, throw in mounds of cheeses and thinly sliced chicken tikkas, pile on more cheese and top off the bread.
I mean go for it with the cheese, as much as the sandwich can hold. It's a grilled cheese after all, and then grill it on a medium hot pan, with enough butter to seep through the thick slices, and make 'em crunchy and toasty and buttery.
And once the meal was done, it was time to serve it up all nice and fancy, for this fancy lady in my life to make her feel special. So special, that we ate the sandwich off of the shooting props sitting on the floor with the moody lighting of the studio lights creating a perfect ambience. Just. Couldn't. Wait. 😂 #BloggerLife
I think that looks pretty. Like woman, like sandwich, never thought I'd compare my wife to a food item, but I feel this had to be said. And then we ate, and thoroughly enjoyed it!
We dunked and we ate and then we dunked some more, you get the idea. The créma was a refreshing contrast to the meat and cheesy bite of the sandwich, cutting through with zest and creamy freshness, adding a subtle layer of extra luxury to the cheesy bite. And a nice IPA to wash it all down. Heaven.
So that's or non V-Day yet V-Day meal! Hope you get your loving and caring ones next to you as you eat something good and comforting and memorable. Coz that's love and it stays with you.
Chicken Tikka Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Makes 2 grilled cheese sandwiches
Ingredients for the Chicken Tikka
1/2lb boneless skinless chicken breast (washed and patted dry)
1 tbsp Somked Paprika
1 tbsp Coriander powder
1/2 cup full fat Greek Yogurt
1/2 a lime (juiced)
2" piece of fresh ginger (peeled)
2 cloves of garlic
Oil for grilling(optional)
Ingredients for Cilantro Lime Créma
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup cilantro (washed, dried and stems chopped)
1/2 lime (juiced)
1 Hot Indian chili pepper (or 1/2 a jalapeño or scotch bonnet pepper)
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar
Ingredients for the Sandwich
White bread (not sliced)
1/2 cup aged sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup shredded Mozarella
Butter for grilling
Place all the ingredients of the marinade into a food processor and puree.
Cut chicken into medium size chunks and transfer to an air tight container. Drizzle the marinade all over the chicken and mix several times to coat evenly.
Marinate at least 2 hours or best, overnight.
Next day, bring the chicken to room temperature for at least 45 minutes while you preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Lay out the pieces in a large baking tray, spreading them out evenly and drizzle some oil over the pieces (optional). Bake for 20 minutes, or till charred.
In the meantime, to make the créma, place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Transfer to a bowl, Dipping sauce is ready.
When the chicken is done, remove and let stand for 10 minutes, before we cut the pieces.
Cut two 1/4 inch thick slices of bread and pile on the shredded cheeses, and thinly sliced chicken tikka pieces. Add ample amounts of chicken and cheese. Layer in the top slice.
On a medium hot pan, melt some butter by moving the stick around 4 to 5 times till it sizzles. Pan is hot and ready. Place the sandwich on the pan and let it toast and melt the cheese for around 3 minutes per side. move the sandwich to another side of the pan, and rub more butter in onto the pan and flip the sandwich over to toast the other side for another 3 minutes or till the cheese oozes out.
When done, turn off stove and remove the sandwich on a board, and cut into halves. Serve with a bowl of créma on the side and enjoy.