If you like Indian food or if you like food with a lot of flavor, this dish is for you. You can adjust the amount of spice by adjusting the amount of garam masala to your tastes. You will probably have to get this spice blend at an Indian grocery store or you can order it from Amazon like I did. I was having a surgical procedure and it got here faster than I would have been able to make it to the Indian Grocery. Plus, it probably saved me money there too because I LOVE exploring Indian food, at least the not HOT side of things.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Serves 4 to 6
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
Fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked rice, to serve
Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, paprika, and kosher salt until the chicken is evenly covered with spices. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices.
→ If you have the time: Marinate the chicken in 1/2 cup yogurt for up to 6 hours. Shake to remove excess yogurt before transferring to the slow cooker.
→ If you have the time: Sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet until softened, then stir in the ginger, tomato paste, and spices until fragrant. Transfer to the slow cooker with the chicken and diced tomatoes. This will give your tikka masala more depth of flavor.
Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the heavy cream. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave the slow cooker uncovered for the last 15 minutes. Taste and add more garam masala or salt to taste.
Serve over rice with fresh cilantro sprinkled over the top of each serving. The tikka masala can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months.
•Chicken breasts can be substituted for the thighs, though I find thighs hold up better over the long cooking and breasts tend to fall into shreds. Still delicious, though!
•For a little of that smoky, tandoori flavor, try using smoked paprika and roasted tomatoes.
And we will enjoy it on Basmati rice with some Garlic Naan!