Rice Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Last July, when I moved to Japan, I lived in a small neighborhood in Osaka. It has tons of little food shops. It was impossible not to find something good to eat. One shop in particular sold Indian food. Over the past few years, I haven’t really eaten too much Indian food, because it was expensive or the restaurants were a little out of the way. Going to that shop and being able to indulge in inexpensive, Indian food was incredible. I loved everything about that little shop.

Now, I live in Tokyo, a food mecca. However, I live a little outside of the city and there are only four Japanese restaurants and a McDonald’s near my house. Luckily, the majority of grocery stores are fully stocked with ingredients from non-Japanese cuisines, so, it’s easy to recreate Indian food at home.

Recently, I’ve been craving Indian food. I wanted to try to make Chicken Tikka Masala from scratch. Overall, the process of making the masala wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. I’ve only made Indian food about two to three times in my life, and it used to feel strenuous. Making it in a rice cooker helped with the flavor. If you don’t have a rice cooker, try making it in a slow cooker.

Rice Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
1.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
1.5 hours
Rice Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
1.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
1.5 hours
Ingredients
  • 360 grams chicken drumsticks about 3/4 pound of chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup green beans diced (175 grams)
  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas ( 87.5 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons shredded ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 white onion diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 of it should be used for the chicken
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (8 ounces)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Before prepping the ingredients, place your chicken on the counter for about five to ten minutes. The chicken shouldn't be very cold before you cook it or else it will be dry.
  2. Once ten minutes has passed, toss the chicken in 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Then, place the bowl to the side.
  3. In your rice cooker bowl, add the green beans, chickpeas, garlic, ginger, onion and seasonings. Then, add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir the ingredients until well combined.
  4. Next, add the chicken to the bowl. Press the chicken into the mixture until it is hidden.
  5. Then, cook your chicken for for an hour and half. When the chicken has finished cooking, add the heavy cream and stir. Place it on the warming setting for about ten minutes.
  6. Serve with brown rice.
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Dark Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate truffles are an easy dessert to make. You only need two ingredients for the truffle base and one ingredient for rolling the truffle. Recently, I made chocolate truffles for a friend. It had been almost a year since I made them, so I was a little anxious about how they were going to turn out. Also, chocolate and cream are expensive in Japan, so I couldn’t mess them up. Luckily, they turned out great!

During the truffle making process, I had a few less than perfect spheres. Here are some tips to creating perfect, or almost perfect, chocolate truffles.
1. Before rolling, set the chocolate out for a couple of minutes. This will allow you to roll them properly.
2. Don’t skip the cocoa powder! Place a small amount of cocoa powder in the palm of your hand before rolling.
3. Choose your toppings wisely. I suggest sticking with colorful powders, such as matcha or white chocolate powder, or solids, such as chocolate crunchies.

Making truffles can be therapeutic. If you mess up a few, try to stay positive, or just eat the ones that look a little lopsided. It can be your little secret.


Dark Chocolate Truffles
Print Recipe
Dark Chocolate Truffles
Print Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dark chocolate 480 grams of dark chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream 8 oz.
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder 128 grams
Servings:
Instructions
Making the ganache
  1. First, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the pieces into a heat resistant bowl.
  2. Next, on medium heat, bring the cream to a boil. One the cream begins to bubble, remove it from the burner.
  3. Pour about half of the cream onto the chocolate. Vigorously whisk the chocolate until half of it is melted. Then, pour the rest of the cream onto the chocolate and continue to whisk it until all of the chocolate is melted. This process can take about two minutes, depending on how quickly you are whisking.
  4. Next, cover your bowl of ganache with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about an hour. The ganache should be firm but not hard.
Shaping the truffles
  1. To shape the truffles you will need a small spoon and cocoa powder. Place the cocoa powder on a plate or parchment paper. Place the other toppings on separate plates or papers.
  2. Sprinkle cocoa powder in the palms of both hands. Take one tablespoon of gnache and roll it in your hands until a ball shape is formed. Finally, sprinkle it with a little extra cocoa powder or roll it in chocolate crunchies.
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Matcha and Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Roses

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Twitter by food blogger, Molly Yeh, about her Rose Rose Cake. The cake looked beautiful and I knew I wanted to try to make it. I had been wanting to make something that was challenging and that I could experiment with color.

It took a full day to make the cake. That was shorter than I expected because originally I thought it would take two days. First, I made the Matcha Chocolate Cake. I needed to make it ahead of time to allow enough time for it to cool. Then, I made the buttercream. In order to make the pink and orange frostings, I referred to this chart. The chart was helpful because I don’t have enough experience mixing colors, and I hate when frostings have too much food coloring. I think it tastes bad. After making the frostings, I turned the air conditioner on in my living room in order to keep the frosting from melting while I worked with it.

In Molly Yeh’s post, she mentions that she used a Wilton Flower Nail Decorating tool. I didn’t have that and I wasn’t going to go look for one, so, instead, I used a pizza saver with two of the legs cut off. I still went through the process of attaching a small square of parchment paper to the top of the pizza saver and creating the roses that way. Honestly, the roses weren’t that hard to make using the pizza saver. You just have to be patient and practice. My first couple of flowers looked a little rough, but by the fifth one, I had gotten the hang of it. Also, if you mess up, you can take the frosting off of the parchment paper and place it back in the bowl.

Overall, making the cake was fun and I was able to catch up on my shows. I’ll be making a similar cake soon, and I hope to post the recipe for the cake and the frosting.

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An Inviting Coffee Shop in Nanjing, China

China is best known for its tea, but in recent years, a coffee culture has developed in cities both small and large. Most of the coffee that is consumed, is mainly by young professionals working and living in major cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing. However, some of the major stores, such as Starbucks, are viewed differently here than they are in the U.S. Starbucks is popular, but smaller shops owned by young entrepreneurs are paving the way for coffee shops.

Buying coffee in Eastern China can vary from drink stands to full-blown cafes. The major difference between them is the atmosphere and the convenience. A drink stand can run the same amount that you would pay in a regular coffee shop, and you receive the same quality, if not better, of coffee. These drink stands

One coffee shop that I frequent is called Shawn’s Coffee. The cafe is hidden beside a busy mall, but the bright yellow sign invites you as you pass by. When you enter through the black picket fence, you usually see Shawn making drinks or chatting with friends. There are always customers relaxing by themselves or with others. At night, candles flicker on the patio while conversation and laughter fill the air. Upon entering the cafe, you see Shawn’s certificates hanging on the wall, random pieces of coffee equipment and succulents placed throughout the shop.

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I had the opportunity to talk to Shawn and ask him why he opened his coffee shop and what inspires him to make his coffee. He told me that he wanted to create a cafe that made Western style coffee but was tailored to meet Chinese standards. To achieve this, he studied with the SCAE ( Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) for seven years and researched online. Through practice and education, he learned how to craft signature drinks, roast coffee beans and create latte art.

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Shawn’s coffee is very popular in the Longjiang district 龙江小区 of Nanjing. Due to his popularity, I wanted to know whether or not he could see his coffee shop becoming a chain. He informed me that if he ever decided to open other locations, he would want them to be in China. Shawn wants to keep the authenticity of his coffee shop and introduce coffee to other Chinese consumers.

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Coffee is becoming more popular in Eastern China. There are a variety of cafes, both franchised and not franchised, with different drinks to appeal to local tastes. Thanks to small business owners like Shawn, both Chinese and Western consumers are able to enjoy quality coffee.

If you are ever in Nanjing, check out Shawn’s Coffee. His shop is located at the intersection of 横六路 heng liu lu (6th Cross Rd.) and 龙园西路 longyuan xi lu.

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