Chicken Tikka Masala

One of my favorite all time dishes is Chicken Tikka Masala. There are literally hundreds of ways to prepare this dish, all of which create a unique and different taste: from sweet and creamy to spicy and savory. In fact, the only common ingredient in many of these dishes is the chicken.

My favorite Indian restaurant prepares this dish perfectly. Succulent moist chicken pieces marinates in yogurt and spices before being grilled and drenched in a creamy pink-ish orange sauce; it’s an array of exotic flavors blended together in perfect symphony. But I like challenges so I opted to make this dish using my Aroma rice cooker for comparison. Well, let me tell you that I was pretty happy with the end result. In fact, my family devoured the entire meal short of licking their plates— and they don’t even like Indian food!

The interesting thing about Chicken Tikka Masala, aside from the fact that it’s delicious, is that it might not really be Indian at all. I know, all these years I thought I liked Indian food too…

The history of the dish dates back almost 500 years to the Mughal Dynasty in east Asia when the emperor Babur, afraid of choking on chicken bones, ordered his staff to de-bone and cut his chicken into small pieces known as “tikka.” Now fast-forward to the 1960’s in England when supposedly a Bangladeshi chef at an Indian restaurant in Glasgow added tomato sauce and cream to a chicken dish that was considered too dry. And hence was born the dish that we call today Chicken Tikka Masala.

Below is the super fast and easy Aroma rice cooker version of this famous dish.

For the spice blend:
3 tbsp of paprika
3 tbsp of cumin
2 tbsp of ground coriander seeds
2 tbsp of ground turmeric
2 tsp of ground cayenne pepper

For the marinade:
1 cup of yogurt
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp of fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup of lemon juice

Other ingredients:
1.5- 2 lbs of chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
28 oz can of whole tomatoes
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
butter for frying

To make the spice blend: Mix together all spices in a small bowl. (I suggest creating a double batch to use whenever you crave this.)

To make the marinade: Mix together half of the spice mixture with all marinade ingredients

Place in chicken pieces to marinate for about 2-4 hrs. Remove chicken pieces from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in the Aroma rice cooker using the Sauté-Then-Simmer™ function. Brown chicken pieces for 5 minutes or until cooked. Remove from the inner pot and set aside.

Keeping your rice cooker on the Sauté-Then-Simmer™ function, add a bit of butter, onion and garlic and sauté until browned and soft. Add the rest of the spice blend and let cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and the tomato juice from the can and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. Remove the mixture from the rice cooker, puree it with either a hand or counter top blender and then return it to the rice cooker. Add your chicken pieces and close the lid. Let cook for at least 30 minutes longer or you may leave it up to 5 hrs. Add cream and cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

Over to You
What’s your version of chicken tikka masala? Share and inspire us!

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