For all of you who tuned into my WGN-TV appearance...as thanks, here's my chicken tikka masala recipe. I wasn't going to post it, but why not? What a coup to be able to make this in the slow cooker with minimal oil and fat. Enjoy - and be sure to write if you try it. I'd love to hear your feedback. (Keep in mind this is a recipe that's slighly more complicated (more steps) than others in the upcoming book - but it's well worth it. I promise!)
Chicken Tikka Masala
Cooker: 5-quart medium
Settings, cooking times: marinate then cook high for 6 - 8 hours, makes 14 cups
There are many theories as to how this dish came about. One theory is that a Bangladeshi-British chef in the United Kingdom came up with the idea to add tomatoes and cream to the original tandoor-cooked chicken and masala. Regardless, the popularity of chicken tikka masala is undisputable in the West, especially in Great Britain.
I modified the recipe for the slow cooker and made it without first grilling the chicken. It tasted great. If you prefer, take that one extra step on the grill or stovetop. But, first try it my way – you may just find you like it and don’t want to bother with the extra step.
3 pounds (1.36 kg) chicken, skinned and boned, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups (473 mL) plain yogurt (regular, low-fat, non-fat)
3 tablespoons (44 mL) lemon juice
1-inch (2.5 cm) piece ginger, grated
5 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon (15 mL) red chili powder
1 tablespoon (15 mL) paprika
1 teaspoon (5 mL) – 1 tablespoon (15 mL) red chili powder
2 teaspoons (10 mL) cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons (10 mL) black pepper
2 teaspoons (10 mL) salt
Whisk all ingredients except chicken together in deep mixing bowl. Once blended, add chicken into the same bowl and mix gently until all pieces are coated. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours and ideally overnight.
3 medium yellow or red onions, peeled and cut into large pieces
6 tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic
4 – 6 green Thai, Serrano or cayenne chilies
2 cans (6 oz/50 gram) tomato paste
2 tablespoons (30 mL) garam masala
2 tablespoons (30 mL) coriander powder
1 tablespoon (15 mL) red chili powder
1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt
1 tablespoon (15 mL) brown sugar
3 tablespoons (44 mL) blanched almonds (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) cinnamon powder
½ cup (125 mL) water
6 cardamom pods, crushed slightly in mortar and pestle
1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream
1 cup (250 mL) chopped, fresh cilantro
Boil water on the stovetop to peel tomatoes. Cut an “X” into the bottom of each tomato with a knife and drop into boiling water for about two minutes or until the peel starts to curl back from spot where you cut it. Pull them out of water with tongs and peel once cooled. Cut away the green top and chop roughly.
In a food processor grind onions, garlic, chilies, tomato paste, garam masala, coriander powder, red chili powder, salt, brown sugar, blanched almonds, cinnamon powder and water until completely smooth. Be patient, as this could take 10 – 15 minutes. To help the process, turn the food processor off and push mixture down from the sides and pulse again to ensure the mixture is finely ground.
Add tomatoes and pulse a few times until the tomatoes break down but are not completely blended. Put mixture in slow cooker. Add crushed cardamom pods to slow cooker.
With a slotted spoon or tongs, slowly add marinated chicken to the slow cooker. Discard the remaining yogurt to make a thicker base for the chicken or add to the slow cooker for a thinner masala.
Cook on high for 6 – 8 hours. If you want an even thicker sauce, leave lid off during the last hour of cooking.
Add cream and cilantro before serving. Garnish with chopped onions and green chilis. Serve with naan or roti.
Try This! If you really want to add another layer of flavor to the dish, brown the chicken in oil on the stovetop after marinating it and before adding it to the slow cooker. You can also grill the chicken after marinating and serve like this as an appetizer with toothpicks.
To make in the 3 ½ quart slow cooker, cut all ingredients in half and follow above steps. Makes 7 cups (1.66 mL).