Six years ago we left sunny Los Angeles to move to frozen Massachusetts and gave up quite a few things in the process. Sure, I miss the palm trees and sunshine and the always fun people watching, but what I also miss is the abundance of food selections. I mean, don’t get me wrong, having 13 pizza joints and 73 chinese food restaurants to choose from is great and all, but this girl likes a little variety and miles-from-the-closest-major-city cuisine just doesn’t cut it. So, I did what any self-respecting suburbanite would do, I started making just about everything myself.
Indian food has long been a favorite but making it myself seemed a daunting prospect. What I love most about it is its depth of flavor, and I didn’t know if that would be easy to recreate at home but boy was I proven wrong. While looking for slow cooker ideas, I stumbled upon this recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala and immediately put it on that week’s menu. The recipe was easy to follow, even for an amateur cook, and the end result is exactly like what you’d get in an Indian restaurant. Heat up some store-bought Naan bread to go with it and I can almost imagine that the farm across the street is the Hollywood Hills. Alright, that last part is definitely a lie but the food being great part was totally true. Go make this now.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1/4-1 tsp cayenne (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
6-8 chicken thighs (skinless and boneless)
Stir all ingredients except chicken into the bottom of a large plastic container or gallon bag. Add the chicken and coat the chicken completely with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can 6 oz tomato paste
2 inches fresh ginger, grated (store your ginger in the freezer and it will be super easy to grate)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 1/2 tbsp tikka paste (can be found in the ethnic foods aisle of your grocery store, I used Patak’s brand)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tbsp. tikka paste
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cream
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Turn your oven to broil. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack over top. Take the chicken out of the marinade (discard the marinade) and place on the baking rack. Place under the broiler about 6-10 inches from the heating element and broil on each side about 10 minutes. You don’t have to worry about cooking the meat all the way through, you are just looking for a nice browned color.
While the chicken is broiling, in a pan over medium heat, add about a tsp or two of oil. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a few more minutes until the mixture is nice and fragrant. Place the mixture into your crockpot. To that, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garam masala, tikka paste, cumin, chili powder and coriander. Stir together. When the chicken is done broiling, add them straight to the slow cooker and stir into the masala (sauce). Slow cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.
Remove chicken thighs and cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1″ cubes), then put them back into the masala. Before serving stir in 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp gram masala, 1/2 tbsp tikka paste and salt. Then stir in the cream and fresh cilantro. Taste and adjust any seasonings to your personal preference, if necessary. Serve over basmati rice with cooked peas stirred into it and naan bread on the side (found in the bakery section of most grocery stores). If using store bought naan, just heat about a tsp of olive oil in a sauté pan and grill for a few minutes on each side.
Adapted slightly from the original recipe found on Meal Planning 101.