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How to Slow Cook Chicken Tikka Masala

Rich and wholesome Chicken Tikka Masala is a common feature in all manner of Indian eateries. Despite its prominence in Indian restaurants however, this mix of tender chicken chunks and a flavorsome yogurt and tomato sauce actually originated in the United Kingdom. The dish, which is incredibly popular in the U.K., was likely created and popularized by British Bangladeshi chefs in the 1960s as an attempt to create Indian-inspired foods that would appeal to the locals. Regardless of its origins however, Chicken Tikka Masala is an ideal candidate for slow cooking. The gentle temperatures and long cooking time tenderizes the chicken without drying it out and allows the flavors to properly develop.

Ingredients and Tools

Ingredients

  • 4-6 boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

Tools

  • Suvie or a slow cooker
  • A skillet

Directions

Suvie Instructions

Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel. Remove any skin and trim the excess fat. Cut the chicken into large cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle a large pinch of salt over the chicken, add the yogurt and mix to combine. Divide the mixture and place into two Suvie protein pans.

Heat a skillet (non-stick if you have one) to medium-high heat. Add the ghee or oil. Once the oil is hot add the onions. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and mix to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the dry spices and stir to combine. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring often to prevent the spices from sticking to the pan. Add the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Simmer for between 5-10 minutes.*

Remove from heat and divide and pour into the protein pans. Mix to coat the chicken.

Place in the upper right cooking zone.

Add water to the reservoir, enter the Slow Cook settings and cook.

Slow Cook Settings

Protein: High, 4 hours

Starch: 0 minutes

After the cook, remove the pans. Add the cream and mix to combine. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve over rice or with naan bread.

Slow Cooker Instructions

Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel. Remove any skin and trim the excess fat.

Cut the chicken into large cubes and place in the slow cooker pot. Sprinkle a large pinch of salt over the chicken, add the yogurt and mix to combine.

Heat a skillet (non-stick if you have one) to medium-high heat. Add the ghee or oil.

Once the oil is hot add the onions. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and mix to combine. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the dry spices and stir to combine. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring often to prevent the spices from sticking to the pan.

Add the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Simmer for between 5-10 minutes.*

Remove from heat and pour into the slow cooker pot. Mix to coat the chicken. Cook.

Low for 8 hours

Or

High for 4 hours

Once the cook is complete, add the coconut milk and mix to combine.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve over rice or with naan bread.

*Note: Pre-cooking the onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and spices is optional but does help to develop a deeper flavor. While we recommend this step, you may skip it to save time.

Recipes to try

Vegetable Coconut Curry

Curried Chicken with Red Lentils

Butternut Squash Curry

Lamb Curry

Yellow Chicken Curry

Kerala Fish Curry

FAQs

Don’t I need to marinade the chicken before cooking?

It’s true that in the case of tikka masala, the chicken is traditionally marinaded for a few hours before cooking. Because of the low temperature and long cooking process, this step is unnecessary when using a slow cooker.

Can’t I just use a premade Tikka Masala cooking sauce?

Of course! This recipe will absolutely work with a store-bought sauce. Tikka Masala should ideally contain a mixture of garam masala, yogurt, and tomatoes but beyond that, there aren’t many hard and fast rules regarding the ingredients so feel free to experiment!

Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?

Of course! This technique will work with chicken breasts or thighs. Compared with breasts, thighs tend to have a stronger flavor and a slightly firmer texture once cooked so keep that in mind. Breasts are also prone to easily shredding once cooked so be gentle when mixing in the cream at the end of the cooking process.

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