Yes, yes, I know I recently posted a tikka masala recipe. But this is different! See, it involves a slow cooker. And the slow cooker is something that I tend to forget about most of the time . . . until I remember it. And realize that fall and winter are the perfect seasons to put it to use. Make it work for its room and board, type of thing. Justify the space it’s taking up on the shelf, type of thing.
After reading about this recipe’s delights on a Tasty Kitchen blog post (courtesy of the lovely Rebecca), one chilly Saturday morning in late October, I threw it together. Hours later, as the evening started to fall, it was ripe for the eating. Comforting, hot, and perfect for an evening in, reading on the couch and snuggling for warmth.
Now this recipe involves a little more work up front before the slow cooker takes over–this is not the recipe from your grandma’s arsenal that just has you throw a couple cans of cream-of-something and some raw meat into the slow cooker and turn it on. No offense meant to cans of cream-of-something, old recipe arsenals, or grandmas. With this recipe, there’s some chopping, some frying, and general cookery that took me about 35 minutes before I could wash my hands and let the crock pot magic happen. But you can’t argue with the results–it’s so delicious that it’s worth every second of effort.
You may be asking yourselves: which tikka masala is better? The original recipe you posted or its slow cooker counterpart? Friends, I’m pretty darn sure it’s this one. Heidi, I know you didn’t have great results with the Pastor Ryan’s tikka–so this one’s for you!
For the chicken:
9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs)
1 TBS ground coriander
1 TBS ground cumin
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup plain yoghurt
4 TBS butter
1 large jalapeño pepper
For the sauce:
4 TBS butter
1 large onion
8 cloves garlic
1 TBS Kosher salt
3 TBS garam masala
1 piece ginger, 2-3 inches
4 cups crushed tomatoes (approx. 42 oz)
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 handful cilantro, chopped
Trim and cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces (on the larger side, since they will eventually be so tender they’ll be falling apart).
Stir the chicken together with the coriander, cumin, salt, and yoghurt until the pieces are evenly coated.
Let it sit for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, grab some garlic. Lots of it. This is not the time to skimp. In fact, it’s never the time to skimp in matters of garlic.
Mince the garlic and chop up the onion . . .
. . . skin and mince the ginger (skinning it with a spoon is the easiest way) . . .
. . . and wash and mince the cilantro. Or you can do that later, since it won’t go in until the tikka masala is ready to be served.
Divide the first batch of butter (4 TBS) into 1 Tablespoon portions:
Melt the first tablespoon of butter in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over high heat. When melted and bubbly, fry 1/4 of the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes.
When browned, remove them and put them straight into the slow cooker.
Repeat this process with the remaining chicken (frying it in a total of 4 batches).
This is also where I insert (in an annoying voice, wagging a wooden spoon in the air): don’t try to fry everything at once to save time! It will actually slow down the process and prevent the chicken from browning properly. The brown bits add tremendous flavor, and by frying in small batches, each batch cooks really quickly.
Of course, you could always be a rebel and just dump everything into the slow cooker raw and see how it turns out. I think next time I’ll be a rebel.
Cut the stem off the jalapeño and pierce it multiple times with a knife.
Place it on top of the chicken.
Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When melted, add the onion and garlic, and salt.
Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown around the edges.
Add the garam masala and ginger to the onions . . .
. . . and stir for about 1 minute.
Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar . . .
. . . and increase the heat to high. Stir vigorously, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and as soon as it boils, it’s a wrap! Pour it over the chicken in the slow cooker:
Slow cook the tikka masala on low for 5 hours.
Hmmm . . . I really need to clean the front of my slow cooker. It’s looking disturbingly dirty.
Now go have fun. Take a walk, read a book, drink a coffee. Wrap a present or two, do a silly dance in your slippers, and spank your husband (or the nearest spankable person). We’ll reconvene in 5 hours.
. . . 5 hours have now passed . . .
Okay! Good to see your lovely faces again! Hope you all had a blast and half doling out spanks and drinking java. Now where were we . . . right-o!
Whisk the corn starch into the heavy cream until smooth.
Add the cream to the slow cooker and stir it in.
It will look like it doesn’t want to get friendly with the tomato sauce, but just cover the slow cooker again and let it do its thing for 10 minutes, and it will incorporate itself quite nicely. Stir in the cilantro right before serving.
Serve the curry over rice. I made regular long-grain white rice in my rice cooker with a tablespoon of butter and a bunch of frozen peas mixed in right at the end–and it was fabulous.
Serve up the rice . . .
. . . and drown it in sauce!
Click here for printer-friendly version: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala