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Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala
Appliance: Rice Cooker - 8 cup capacity and larger
Contact Grill - 4 servings or larger See Note
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This Indian recipe is Gluten Free and great for Potlucks
Chicken Tikka Masala
For the Marinade:
   1 cup plain yogurt
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 inch piece)
   1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
   1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

   1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the sauce:
   1/2 tablespoon cooking oil or ghee (clarified butter)
   1 small onion, sliced
   1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 inch)
   1 tablespoon tomato paste
   4 cloves garlic, minced
   1 teaspoon ground cumin
   2 teaspoons ground coriander
   1/2 teaspoon turmeric
   1 tablespoon garam masala
   1 teaspoon salt
   1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
   1 tablespoon paprika (optional)
   1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
   1/2 cup water (plus more, if necessary)

   1/2 to 3/4 cup plain yogurt

   1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

For the Marinade:
In a small bowl, whisk yogurt until smooth and then add the remaining marinade ingredients. With a fork, pierce chicken pieces several times. Place chicken in a large zipper bag or non-reactive bowl, add marinade and mix well. Hands work best. Seal or cover chicken and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

For the sauce:
Preheat contact grill to high while you prepare the sauce. Use grill plates, if applicable.

Add oil to the inner bowl of your rice cooker and push Cook button. Use White Rice setting, if applicable. When warm, add onions and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until rice cooker switches to Keep Warm, about 20 to 25 minutes. Onion should be soft and lightly browned. For a more complex, authentic flavor, stir, push the Cook button again and continue to caramelize the onions for another 20 to 30 minutes. Stir the onions each time the rice cooker switches to Keep Warm and push the Cook button again.

Add ginger and tomato paste and cook an additional two minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and dry spices and cook, stirring almost constantly, until very fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes. Rinse tomato can with the water and add it, as well. Cover and bring to a boil. Switch heat setting to Simmer or Brown Rice, if available, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes while you grill the chicken.

For the chicken:
Working in batches, remove chicken from marinade, shake off excess, and place on your contact grill in a single layer, pieces not touching. Grill until well browned, 3-6 minutes (depending on the temperature of your grill's high heat setting). Repeat as needed, wiping grill plates between batches, if necessary. Chicken will not be cooked through, but will finish in the sauce. Discard marinade.

Stir grilled chicken into the sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees (F), 20 to 40 minutes. If sauce is thickening too much, add a little water, 1/4 cup at a time, during cooking.

Switch rice cooker to Keep Warm. In a small bowl, whisk yogurt until smooth. To help prevent curdling, whisk a couple of tablespoons of the hot sauce into the yogurt mixture until well blended, then repeat once or twice more, until the yogurt mixture is luke warm before adding to the chicken mixture. Mix well, then allow to rest 10 minutes on Keep Warm before serving.

Stir in cilantro, if using. Serve over rice with naan or other flat bread.

NOTE: Tikka is essentially Indian barbecue, food grilled in a charcoal or wood burning oven. This dish is a fairly modern creation, and a great way for restaurants and street vendors to use up leftover grilled chicken. There is an easier, slow cooker only version of the recipe (the chicken is not grilled, but simmered instead) and a contact grill and slow cooker version.

A quicker version of this recipe is available, using our make-ahead Mild Indian Flavor Base:
      Rice Cooker Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala - Flavor Base Version

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