Quick summer cooking: Chicken Tikka Masala

The yard in July
Tomatoes are taking over the yard! Cucumbers aren’t doing too shabby either. Hard to believe it is halfway through summer already.

I bought big old heap of bargain notebooks on sale the other day. John looked at them, reminded me of another heap I still had in the pantry and said, “You might need to slow down your notebook buying now that most of the kids are graduated.”



One thing about summertime is I tend not to spend a whole lotta time cooking. OK, being honest, that’s actually been me in the last year or so!  First it was the new job, then fixing up our house to sell.  Then moving.  Then landscaping at the new house.  Oh, and planning the beach house. <3

(No wonder I haven’t been cooking! We’ve been having adventures!)

Another factor has been than there are fewer of us home during the day.  With the 18-20 year old set gone at work most days, usually it’s just Em and Julianna and sometimes John and me.  We are happy to forage breakfast and lunch on our own, leaving only dinner for me to handle.

One thing that has been a good tool for me in the past few months is my Smart Pot. I can’t remember if I’ve told you about this.  But it can do all sorts of cooking tasks, including boiling eggs, cooking rice, making stew, and cooking chicken, all very quickly.  One of my favorite ways to use it is to make Indian food.
Chicken Tikka Masala

Here’s a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala that’s super quick in an instant pot. And bonus– it uses tomatoes, something I have in abundance right now. I’ll see if I can get a good picture up later today, but for now, here’s the recipe.


Chicken Tikka Masala

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Chicken Tikka Masala


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced (or 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces (thighs or breasts)
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter


  1. In the instant pot, press the 'saute' button and add butter and oil. Add minced onion and saute 5 minutes. Add the spices and stir, cooking about 1 minute, until fragrant. Then add garlic, ginger, and tomatoes.
  2. Place chicken pieces into the instant pot, submerging under tomato-spice mixture. I like to cut the breasts in halves before adding them. I usually leave thighs in one piece.
  3. Lock the lid, make sure the vent is sealed, and press the 'manual' button. Adjust time to 15 minutes.
  4. When the pot beeps, release the pressure and allow the steam to escape before removing the lid. Remove chicken from pot to a bowl and depending on your serving preference, leave it in large pieces or shred the meat using two forks.
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend the tomato-spice sauce until smooth and creamy.
  6. Stir in peanut butter and yogurt. Add the chicken back to the pot, and serve over rice. Yum!

If you’re in the mood for even more Indian recipes in the instant pot, here are a couple I have pinned lately. And if you don’t have an instant pot, I am sure than any of these can be cooking in a pot on the stove. It’s just a matter of adjusting cooking times to allow things to cook thoroughly.


  1. My single son and my daughter of a family of 8 soon to be 9 (grandson due at any time) uses this smartpot. I think they both would harm someone if they tried to take it away from them. The line “I forgot to thaw” is no longer existing in their world.