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Chicken Tikki Masala

1 February 2013
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I can’t say that Husband is a picky eater, because he’ll eat pretty much anything. (I’ve always said we’d make a great Travel Channel show. He’ll eat anything and I’ll be the girly wife who says what everyone at home is thinking about how gross it is, but still gets made fun of by the couch jockeys. Call me, Travel Channel. We’ll do it for cheap too.)

Rather, let’s say, he has a deep appreciation for food done well. He likes to cook, and he’s really good at it. All of this makes it difficult for me to attempt to make dinner. So I usually don’t, and everyone wins.

But it’s slow cooker season (i.e. Winter) anyway, and everything is busy with a new baby in the house, so I’ve been pinning slow cooker recipes like crazy.

Most of them are okay. They’re kind of bland, Midwesterner food dishes, and he puts hot sauce on everything. There’s only been one, so far, that he told me to lose the recipe for, but none of them have been great.

Until now.

Enter Chicken Tikki Masala. This one is good. And I even cheated. It’d probably be really good if I did it right.

Download the recipe cards, or get the whole thing (and my cheats) after the break. (I forgot to take a picture, but there are gorgeous ones at Table For Two Blog, where I found this.)

3 x 5 card  |  4 x 6 card  

You’ll need:

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (I got breasts. … Ha)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of ginger, minced (pretty sure I used ground ginger)
  • 1, 29-ounce can of tomato puree
  • 1-1/2 cups of plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Garam masala*
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (ya right – I used regular ol’ black pepper)
  • 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper**
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

You’ll do:

  • Place everything except the bay leaves, cream and cornstarch in your slow cooker and stir to coat the chick. (The directions I read said to do this in a bowl and then “gently” transfer it to the slow cooker. If anyone can explain to me why that’s worth extra dishes. I’m all ears.) 
  • Cover and cook for 8 hours on Low, or 4 hours on High.
  • When done, whisk cream and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Pour into the slow cooker and stir gently. Let it cook about 20 more minutes to thicken.

It makes a good portion, which I love, ’cause leftovers will stay good in the frige for about five days.

*Midwestern American grocery stores don’t carry this in their spice racks. At least mine doesn’t. I was going to make another trip later that day to the little Indian grocer across town, but then I Googled it.

Masala is that distinct flavor in Indian food, but it’s really a blend of a bunch of ground spices that you probably have heard of – and may even have at home. When I looked at one list (it can vary), I realized most of them are already in the recipe (cumin, pepper, and cinnamon).

So instead of going home to leave my chicken in the frige and going out again, I added an extra teaspoon of cumin, pepper and cinnamon, as well as one teaspoon of each coriander, ground cardamom, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg. Are those proportions right? No. Did it make a huge difference? Probably not.

It was definitely missing that taste-of-India, and next time I’ll hit up the Indian grocer first and make sure I have Garam masala, but it was still pretty good in a pinch.

**The original says “1-3 teaspoons, depending on your heat preference.” I used two, and it was pretty weak (and I suck at spicy food). I’m definitely going with three next time ’cause masala should have a little bite to it. If you hate bite, though, scale back to one or two teaspoons.

Husband liked it. I was encouraged to make this one again.

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