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Not too long ago, our friend Steve had us over for dinner. He explained that he was making chicken tikka masala for us, and I had never had it, so I was excited. I love mushrooms and wine. When I opened the door to his house, I immediately smelled cardamom, cinnamon, tomato, and more. As we chatted and wandered into the kitchen, I peered over the bubbling pot of goodness on the stove. No mushrooms. That’s when I learned that masala and marsala are two very different dishes.

Chicken tikka masala is a creamy tomato curry-like dish that boasts the intricate flavors of India. Garam masala is a key ingredient to a good tikka masala. It’s a spice blend of pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, bay leaf, and cumin.

Back to school means back to a more busy schedule, so I’ve adapted a few chicken tikka masala recipes and made one I like for the crock pot. Simply combine all the ingredients, turn it on, and add the coconut milk before you’re ready to serve. Easy peasy. And, no mushrooms.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 8 hours

Ingredients:

14 oz. whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes with juices (1/2 the 28-oz. can)
3 oz. tomato paste (1/2 the 6-oz. can)
1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 cup coconut milk

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients except coconut milk in the slow cooker. Tuck in bay leaves so they are immersed in the tomato sauce. Place lid on slow cooker and set to low for 6-8 hours, until chicken is cooked through. After the 8 hours, turn slow cooker off and stir in coconut milk. Serve hot over rice and top with cilantro.