Of all the types of cuisine I miss most now that we live up in the Northwoods, I think the top position goes to Indian food. We were a bit spoiled in Philadelphia, as a great Indian restaurant (literally named "Indian Restaurant") was located less than a block from our apartment. I think we had a feeling that our food choices were going to become quite limited following our change of address, as I'm pretty sure we ordered Indian takeout at least once a week in the month prior to our move to the Upper Midwest.
Now, if we want a little curry and naan for dinner, the nearest Indian restaurant is just a short (ha!) three-hour jaunt south to Madison. Given that a six-hour roundtrip for dinner is not quite the best use of our time and resources, I suppose the second-best option would be to try to make it myself. So, that's what I set to do yesterday when I tried my hand at making chicken tikka masala for dinner.
I've never actually had chicken tikka masala before. We're a little boring in that we nearly almost always just order mattar paneer (peas and cheese) when we eat at an Indian restaurant. According to a quick search on Wikipedia, tikka masala translates to "chunks of roasted meat" (tikka) in a "spicy" (masala) sauce. All I know is, this is perhaps one of the best dishes I have ever eaten, and I honestly was surprised that it tasted so good. (I've tried making mattar paneer at home, and it has never turned out as well as this recipe did.) Long story short, I highly recommend trying out this recipe. Even if you're lucky enough to live close to an Indian restaurant, you may be surprised (as I was) at how good it can be when you make it yourself in your own kitchen.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala (adapted from this Tasty Kitchen recipe)
makes 6-8 servings
For the chicken:
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound whole boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" cubes
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt1 whole jalapeno pepper, stem removed, and pepper pierced several times with sharp knife
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 white onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons garam masala
1 2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (a microplane grater is excellent for this)
4 cups fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons organic heavy cream
chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1. In a medium bowl, combine together the coriander, cumin, and salt. Add in the cubed chicken and gently toss to coat.
2. Add in the Greek yogurt and stir until the chicken is evenly covered.
3. Place the yogurt-covered chicken in the bottom of a 6-qt slow-cooker bowl. Place the pierced jalapeno on top of the chicken.
4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and saute (stirring constantly) until the onion is softened and lightly golden in color, about three to five minutes.
5. Stir in the garam masala and ginger and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
6. Carefully add in the crushed tomatoes and sugar and stir to combine. Cook until the sauce begins to boil. Then remove from the heat and carefully pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker.
7. Place the lid on the slow-cooker and cook on low for about 5 hours, or until the chicken is tender.
8. After the chicken is tender, stir in the heavy cream, replace the lid, and let cook for an additional 10 minutes.
9. Spoon the chicken tikka masala over jasmine rice; garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with wedges of warmed naan.