Thursday, January 24, 2013

crowded kitchen: slow-cooked chicken tikka masala

Do  you ever come across a recipe at just the right time? One that reaffirms faith in your own cooking?

I had a rough morning in the kitchen and despite a surprising and freeing revelation I finally came to, it was still rough. I haunt Nigella Lawson's web site like some sort of stalker.

 I have this notion that if I lived in London or if she somehow inhabited the apartment above ours, we'd be besties. We'd ride bikes with tassles and playing cards in the spokes. We'd have a secret handshake and she'd totally let me eat all her leftovers.

So I had high hopes when I printed out her "Clementine Cake" recipe and boiled five clementines in their own skins for TWO HOURS. I chopped and swirled them (skins, piths, fruit, and all) around once or twice in the blender and made a cake of them with six eggs and a couple cups of flour. Some sugar, too.

Let me just state for the record that I must have a palate about as sensitive as a concrete slab.

I just don't appreciate certain flavors and the whole having chunks of peel and pith residing in your cake (on purpose, even!) just sorta made me resent this cake that nobody would eat. Not even me. Some people love this cake, as evidenced by the MILLIONS of blog posts raving about the recipe.

I, however, did not.

Add insult to injury? It was such a dense, heavy mess that it ripped my trash bag from the lip of the trash can, forcing me to dig around in the dirty egg shells and coffee grounds to retrieve it. Ugh.

But then redemption came after watching Gordon Ramsey trek across India and eat fire ant chutney and curse at street vendors with flamin' hot curries. I found a recipe for the one of two dishes I've ever tried at an Indian food joint.

 I will eat Chicken Tikka Masala and I will eat Panak Paneer. Period. I've yet to spread my culinary wings. I know, I know.

Thanks to Table for Two, I rediscovered my love for this dish. It's complicated in terms of what I normally cook, but the flavors were incredible in the final product and so worth having to search the spice shelves for the obscure and obselete garam masala. Who knew I'd had it all along? It was fate, ya'll.

My amounts differ from Table for Two, but that's ok. I think that's the fun part about food blogs. The recipe lives on forever in many, many forms!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 6 to 8


Package of boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins (my package had 10 and it was perfect)

1/2 of large onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T fresh ginger, minced (thanks to a juicing experiment gone wrong, I had this on hand!)

1 (29 oz) can tomato puree (in future, I think I might cut back to about 2/3 of the can to balance the "tomatoy" acidity in the dish)

1.5 c plain yogurt

2 T olive oil

2 T Garam Masala

1 T ground cumin

1 t paprika

Salt, to taste

3/4 t cinnamon

3/4 t ground black pepper

1 to 3 t ground cayenne (I omitted this part)

2 bay leaves (I splurged and bought a package...first time EVER using bay leaves)

1 cup heavy cream (next time, I'll up it to 1 and 1/4 cups)

3 T cornstarch

Chopped cilantro or parsley to garnish


In a big ol' honkin' bowl, combine everything minus the chicken and the bay leaves.  When thoroughly mixed,  put the sauce in a your slow cooker, add the chicken and coat with sauce, top off with bay leaves and let cook. 2 to 4 hours on high, 4 to 8 on low...all depending on your appliance. (Mine is waaay off and it only took about two and a half hours on high.)

It was a hit with then entire crew and all we were missing was naan. Travesty, right? Next time I'll be sure to hit up a local joint for some bread...Lord knows I'm not patient enough to spend six hours making the stuff.

...happy eating...


1 comment:

  1. Good god, woman! That sounds amazing. Wonder if I could use vegetarian chicken...