Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

 

This dish accomplishes three ever-important objectives. 1) Delicious taste. 2) The kitchen is filled with a wonderfully unique and enticing aroma. 3) Easy to make.  Three objectives met. One adjective needed.

Magical.

Indian food is all about the spices. While there are numerous spices to choose from, I brought this particular taste of India home by focusing on these basics. Sweet cinnamon, smoky cumin, spicy cayenne, lemony coriander, and warm garam masala.

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and Cilantro Yogurt SauceCrock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

 

This is far from an intimidating spice list.  In fact, I bet you have most in your spice cabinet. But even if you don’t, all of these spices are easily accessible and affordable. Garam masala was the only new spice I had to purchase to complete this dish.  Garam masala is a Northern Indian style spice blend.  The composition of garam masala differs according to regional and personal taste.  The specific blend I used is a tripart mixture of cardamom, coriander and black pepper.  Well worth the investment.

I like to serve this dish over fluffy white rice. As an accompaniment, a heaping scoop of cilantro yogurt sauce and a plate of warm naan.  Don’t skip the sauce, it brings a cooling balance to the dish.

We know you’ll be back for seconds. We know I’m about to steal an old, corporately-leprechaun cereal slogan.  You and I both know this dish is… magically delicious.  (I couldn’t resist.)

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and Cilantro Yogurt SauceCrock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and Cilantro Yogurt SauceCrock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs chicken breasts, approximately 8 large chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 26oz container strained tomatoes, I prefer Pomi
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
  • Long grain white rice, prepared according to package direction, for serving
  • Naan bread, Firestone and Whole Foods Market make a great garlic variety, for serving
  • Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
    • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
    • 1/4 white onion, very finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    • 6 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 garlic clove, mashed into a paste
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut chicken breast into 1 inch pieces and reserve.
  2. In the bowl of your slow cooker, combine onion, garlic, ginger, strained tomatoes, olive oil, garam masala, cumin, sweet paprika, salt, coriander, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, lemon juice, and black pepper.  Stir to combine.
  3. Add chicken breast. Stir to combine, and nestle bay leaves into the sauce.
  4. Cook on low for 5 1/2 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare yogurt sauce by combining all of the ingredients into a small bowl.  You can do this several hours before serving to allow flavors to meld together.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Whisk together half and half and cornstarch in a small bowl, and add to the slow cooker.  Stir well and cook with the lid off for an additional 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and discard.  Total cook time is 6 hours.
  7. Note: If you haven’t already done so, prepare rice.  Most long grain rice takes approximately 30 minutes to cook.
  8. Serve chicken with freshly chopped cilantro, white rice, naan, and cilantro yogurt sauce.

Servings: 10

Serving Size: 1 cup chicken and sauce, plus rice, naan and cilantro yogurt sauce

Note: You could easily make this dish on the stove-top.  Follow the directions as is, and cook on the stove-top for 2 hours over medium-low heat.  If the mixture starts to boil vigorously, reduce the heat to low and simmer for the remainder of time.  After 2 hours, add the cornstarch mix, and continue the recipe as noted.

 

 

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