Want something easy to make for dinner tonight? This is your dish. It’s about all I order in Indian restaurants now. The first time I had it I was out to eat with my second (or third?) cousins at an Indian restaurant in Blacksburg called India Garden. The two girls (ages 15 & 13) knew more about Indian food than I did. They go to an Indian restaurant in Charleston about once a month and said that I had to get the tikka masala. Guess what I ordered?
This dish – which is actually one of Britain’s national dishes – has a whole bunch of warm spices in it. Garam Masala, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and chili powder will warm you from the inside out. Perfect for the chilly air that’s coming through Blacksburg right about now. And my favorite part about this recipe…virtually no cooking! You literally just get all the prep work done (takes about 15 minutes), then throw everything in the slow cooker and forget about it until dinner time. I made it for Kevin and I on Friday night (no, of course he didn’t eat the green bell peppers – more veggies for me!), and had enough left overs for lunch Saturday and today!
Some tips and tricks for this recipe: I definitely recommend using fresh ginger. I know I could never cook enough Indian or Asian food to use the whole ginger root before it spoiled, so what I do is peel the whole root and then place it in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. It keeps for months and whenever you need it for a recipe just grate it right from the freezer. Super easy! Also, if you don’t want to load on the fat and calories, then skip the heavy cream like I did and just add in more greek yogurt. It gives just as much creaminess and richness as heavy cream except it’s way better for you. Last tip: if you don’t like really spicy food, just add a little bit of the chili powder (or cayenne pepper – whatever you have on hand).
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala: (adapted from Cooking Classy)
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 4 hours Servings: 4 generous servings
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
- 1 jalapeño, diced (take seeds out if you like it mild)
- 1 15 oz. can tomato puree
- 2 cups plain greek yogurt (divided in half)
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (or cayenne pepper)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 bell peppers, sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- Prepared basmati, jasmine, or white rice
- Chopped cilantro, for serving
In a large bowl, combine onions, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, tomato puree, 1 cup of yogurt, EVOO, lemon juice, Garam Masala, cumin, paprika, salt, cinnamon, pepper and chili powder. Stir completely. Pour half of sauce mixture into the bottom of a slow cooker, then add in diced chicken and cover with remaining sauce. Add in bay leaf. Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 8 hours).
In a bowl, whisk remaining 1 cup of yogurt with cornstarch and pour into the slow cooker. Also add the sliced bell peppers (you don’t want them to be flimsy, so allow them to cook for 5-10 minutes). Stir gently until well combined. Allow mixture to cook while you prepare the rice. Remove bay leaf and serve over rice and top with cilantro.