My New Years resolution for 2018 was doing more meal planning and preparing meals in our gourmet country kitchen. Now don’t get me wrong. I do my share of sous chef work; chopping, mincing, blending and eating!
Part of this plan was getting onto the pressure cook bandwagon that is currently sweeping the nation. So, off to the online marketplace to get an Instant Pot – and after watching a handful of instructional videos from Florence Lum and her husband of Vancouver, B.C. I was ready to dig in and start steaming!
My favourite foods are South Asian Punjabi spiced cuisine and Italian – so the Instant Pot was the right tool to start the experimentation and learning process.
Chicken tikka masala is good recipe to start with, and one of the most popular Indian dishes ordered at South Asian restaurants in Western Canada. It goes great with basmati rice to help soak up all of the delicious sauce, or with some plain naan bread on the side.
I enjoy Indian dishes that most of us Westerners simply label as “Curry”, which is completely inaccurate and misleading – Curry literally means “gravy” or “sauce” – so calling South Asian cuisine “Curry” does not do this very broad spectrum of cuisine justice.
Anyway – as I said, chicken is really easy to work with and really showcases the fragrant and aromatic spices that make up this dish.
Let’s do it!
For marinating the chicken:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup Buffalo yoghurt (you can use cows or sheep yoghurt)
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
For the sauce:
15 ounces canned tomato sauce or puree
5 cloves garlic minced
4 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup heavy whipping cream added last
Rice: I prepared 1 cup of Basmati rice with a 1 cup of water and a few scratches of salt in the Instant Pot in 4 minutes of pressure cooking. Perfect! I set that aside while I moved on to the chicken.
Marinating the chicken: Combine all marinade ingredients (minus the chicken) in a bowl and mix well.
Add chicken chunks and coat with the marinade.
Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Pressure cooker saute mode:
Select the saute mode on the pressure cooker for medium heat. When it has reached temperature, add chicken chunks (along with any marinade sticking to them) to the pressure cooker.
Saute until the chicken is cooked on all sides, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn off the saute mode.
Pressure cooker high pressure mode: Add all of the sauce ingredients except the cream to the pressure cooker, over the chicken, and stir. Secure and seal the lid.
Select the manual mode to cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. Use the quick steam release handle to release pressure.
Pressure cooker saute mode: Select the saute mode on the pressure cooker for low heat. When it has reached temperature, add cream to the pot, stirring with the other ingredients. Simmer until the sauce is thickened to your liking, a few minutes.
Serving: Serve with basmati rice or naan. Garnish with cilantro. It’s crazy delicious and there is enough here to serve 4 folks hungry for some great South Asian eats!
You can check out Florences YouTube channel for more hands-on recipes and inspiration.
Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and coffee drinker who is always looking for better ways of cooking great food faster with less hassle.