My husband is a very adventurous eater. Jack loves many kinds of foods – from typical American fare, to sushi, to the spicier-the-better Korean and Mexican foods. He’s even been known to try foods that not very many people would try (namely, sea urchin – but that’s a story for another day…). But there are a few foods that Jack does not like: coconut (it’s a texture thing) and Indian cuisine.
I, on the other hand, love Indian foods – ironic because I’m not a huge fan of super-spicy foods and sometimes strong curry flavors are too much for me. But I love many Indian dishes because of their complexity of flavors from the different spices used in the preparation. So, I’ve been telling Jack for a long time that he must not have tried good Indian food in the past, hoping that he’ll be willing to try it again.
Fast forward to a few months ago – I had a craving for Chicken Tikka Masala, a classic Indian dish, and while I was searching around for a recipe to try making at home, I ran across this recipe for Slow Cooker Tikka Masala from another blog called Foodie with Family. In the post, Rebecca (who is a far more entertaining writer than I am, so please, click here for her story) describes making this delicious dish for her own Indian-cuisine-averse husband — and he absolutely loved the dish, as well as her kids!
Based on her success, I set out to make the dish myself – marinating the chicken in a yogurt and spice mixture that helps to both flavor and tenderize the chicken. After browning the marinated chicken pieces, and sautéing the onions, garlic and seasonings, everything is put in a slow cooker for five hours. Very easy!
Chicken Tikka Masala is the perfect dish to try if you’ve never had Indian food (or think you don’t like it!). It’s a tomato-based sauce that is seasoned with garam masala, a warm blend of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, mace, peppercorns, coriander and cumin. (Actually, many different blends of garam masala exist.) A pierced whole jalapeño added while cooking gives just a touch of heat to the sauce without making it too hot, and the sauce is mellowed with some cream added at the end of the cooking process. Served on a bed of buttered rice and peas, and finished with some chopped fresh cilantro, this slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala is sure to make anyone a fan of Indian food.
By the way – Jack loved this dish too.
Note: Garam Masala can be difficult to find in some markets. We’ve been able to find it at Whole Foods, or you can order it from Amazon here.