Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tikka Masala Chicken Nuggets

THE GAME: Kentucky vs Kansas

A friend of mine works at my favorite Indian restaurant in town, so every time I stop in to eat, I make sure to get a couple of containers of their chutneys to take home with me. Most of the time I use them with leftovers from the restaurant, or I cook myself some simple dumplings. But every once in a while I feel the need to come up with a recipe of my own.

A sunny saturday in January and the two winningest college basketball programs of all time in a late-afternoon matchup? The perfect time for some gameday eats.

NOTES ON THE FOOD: 

  • Last summer/autumn, Lay's released a few strange flavors, as they do every year. My favorite of the batch was Szechuan Chicken, though for some reason I ended up with multiple bags of Tikka Masala. I still had one unopened in the pantry, so I took several handfuls of the chips and crushed them up. 
  • I diced a chicken breast into nuggets and soaked them in buttermilk for several hours. 
  • Then tossed them in egg wash and rolled them around in the crushed potato chips until they were covered. 
  • They baked in the oven for about 30 minutes with a turn halfway through. 
  • And then I drizzled them with the delicious tamarind and mint chutneys. 
  • With a small dish of raita on the side (although I barely used any).
  • They were the best chicken nuggets I've had in a long, long time. 

NOTES ON THE GAME: 
  • Kansas is ranked #2 and Kentucky #4, but both teams lost on Tuesday and will be dropping when the next polls come out. But they're still great teams, with 5 probable first-round draft picks next June.
  • Kentucky has 2,205 victories and a .764 winning percentage. Both are first all time. Kansas has 2,186 victories and a .723 winning percentage, good for second and third-best of all time, respectively.  
  • Jay Bilas just compared Malik Monk's speed to Usain Bolt's. And then Michael Buffer did the opening lineups. I know this is a big matchup, but they're getting a little carried away. Oh well, at least Dick Vitale isn't announcing it. 
  • Announcer: "Sometimes, a strength can be a weakness." I wish Rosie Perez were in the booth: "Sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie."
  • Remember when, if players fell down and stayed on the ground for 30 seconds, you knew something was seriously wrong with them? Now players hit the floor, lay there as if they were hit by a bus, slowly get up... and are just fine. (A recently retired Laker was the king of that.)  
  • Man, Applebee's loves to advertise during college basketball games. I know they are a sponsor, but when was the last time you - or hell, anyone you know - ate at an Applebee's? They have more than 2,000 locations around the world, and I've never met a single person who likes the place. 
  • Kansas did not shoot well in the first half, but the final couple of minutes they were able to cut the deficit from 11 to 5. That could be huge in the second half. (And they're only down five despite being 0-8 from three. That's gotta be a consolation.)
  • Waddaya know, Kansas comes out looking strong, especially Josh Jackson. That's why he's in consideration for the Wooden Award, and a shoo-in for the "Oldest-Looking Freshman Since Greg Oden" Award. 
  • Okay, that's not really an award. I just made that up.
  • Landon Lucas is also looking really solid. "Who?," you might ask. Exactly. That's college basketball these days. We know the freshman, not the seniors.
  • 0-8 on 3s in the first half, 5-11 in the second, and Kansas is looking like they're gonna win. 
  • Kentucky fans fancy themselves such great fans, but they're leaving in droves with 48 seconds left when they're only down 6. 
  • Well, Kansas ended up winning by 6, so I guess it's possible those fans could see the future. 
  • That was a good game, but not even close to a great game. But since there's no NFL this weekend, no baseball for 63 days and no college football for 210 days... this will do.

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