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recipe: slow cooker tikka masala

February 4, 2012

The slow cooker is a working mom’s best friend – actually, it’s any mom’s best friend.  But to me, the whole point of a slow cooker is to “dump it in and push start” .  Any other prep besides washing, chopping and can opening makes the value significantly diminish – if I have to sauté, brown, oven cook or otherwise pre-make any of the dish, what efficiency is it really offering me?  For this reason, I’m pretty selective of my slow cooker recipes.  I like them to be healthy and use a minimal amount of processed ingredients (like “cream of” soups or soup packets for example).  I also like it to be as close to the entire dish as possible so I’m not left still making a bunch of sides to go with it.  In any case, you can see I’m picky when it comes to my slow cooker!  This recipe does it all – it’s practically 100% dump and go with a minimal amount of side prep and the additional piece that goes with it (the cucumber relish) is so easy (and worth it!) it really doesn’t matter.  All the ingredients are natural, healthy and the end result is superb – in all honesty, not the exact replica of the tikka masala from the local indian place, but a good substitute and delicious in its own right.  Please give it a try!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala (adapted from Real Simple):


  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala (Indian spice blend)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
  • 1/2 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup basmati or some other long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (1-2 tsp)


  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
  2. In a small bowl, toss the cucumber and cilantro with the lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. (don’t skip this!  it really makes the dish)
  3. Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  4. Just before serving, stir the cream into the chicken tikka masala and add cayenne pepper to taste. Serve over the rice with the cucumber relish.
One Comment leave one →
  1. Seaneen permalink
    February 6, 2012 10:13 am

    This looks delicious! I will have to try it. Love your blog… You are so talented!

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