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I know what you’re thinking… Tikka what?! Well the best way I can explain this Indian dish is that it’s complicated comfort food: a rich tomato cream sauce flavored by a huge number of spices, with a garam masala blend containing most of them. The first time I was introduced to it was as a kid, tagging along with my brother to this little Indian restaurant located in the Central West End. Indian is Andy’s favorite cuisine and I remember I was so excited that he shared this special dish with me, his annoying little sister. Walking into the restaurant, I smelled such an exotic scent that I had never encountered before, and with my first bite I was hooked by the warm flavors that had been so foreign to my taste buds.

You can order chicken tikka masala at basically any Indian restaurant. In fact, it’s so popular that it’s the national dish of England…odd, right? Well, as I explain my poor-college-student-woes yet another time, you must know that I have foolishly given into the cheaper sauce imitations you can buy in the grocery store. Brand after brand and time after time I was disappointed. They never had the flavors that brought me back to my memory of first sharing it with Andy. I had almost given up. Almost.

You see, since I knew there were about a billion different spices and flavors involved to make ordinary chicken into chicken tikka masala, I had deemed the dish too complicated to replicate. But, the purpose of this blog was to cook, to cook new things that I had never attempted before. And to cook, I did… once I came across a recipe that fit just right.

I hope Andy will be proud that his annoying little sister succeeded in making his favorite dish.

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With only about 3 weeks left of winter, I’ve managed to survive the whole season without a single cold… Until now. In my case, no other description best suits my sickliness than this: “when it rains, it pours”. What started as a slight thirst in the morning turned into a full fledged sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, raspy voice, and a tender neck.

In my food-crazed mind, my first thought was not to plan an appointment to the doctor, but to concoct the ultimate home remedy adopted by American moms everywhere: chicken noodle soup. Don’t worry, the doctor will make his/her money come Monday. For now, soup will be enjoyed.

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the idea

I've always been a lover of food: it's capability to comfort the hard days, to encourage imagination and messiness in a world of order, to explore different cultures through cuisine, and to weave the invisible thread that brings people together around the table.

I started this blog for myself.

As a college student, cooking became a way to release the stress of impending finals, to be creative when I felt unoriginal, and to breathe life into my sometimes discouraged self.

Each week I'll post a new dish, masterpiece or fiasco, to keep record of my continuing education in food and life.

the student: a foodie who loves to learn

Kimberly Aumer

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