Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Inspired by India: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe ended up being another joint effort where I relied on several recipes to end up with the final dish, and then towards the end, I ended up winging it anyway.  This recipe actually starts the day before when I sliced an eggplant into rounds and then threw under the broiler with some leftover onion slices for about 30 minutes. I was intending to make baingan bartha (eggplant curry) to go along with the tikka masala, but I added it to this recipe because I didn't want to make even more food. 


Weight Watcher slow cooker chicken tikka masala
A Summer of Pie low fat chicken tikka masala
Shrinking Kitchen lighter chicken tikka masala

The first two recipes are virtually the same, I don't know if one is a copy of the other or what.

I mainly followed these recipes but used half as much chicken than called for since I only had 1 pound.  After I put everything in the slow cooker, I started tossing in other things that I had, like the shredded zucchini. 

If you want to make this vegetarian, you can substitute firm tofu for the chicken, but I wouldn't add it until closer to the end of the cooking time.  And you could make it dairy-free by substituting a non-dairy yogurt or skipping the yogurt all together since it's great without it.  Coconut milk or cream would be another good substitution.


  • 14 oz diced tomatoes (It wasn't until I opened the can that I realized mine included garlic and olive oil, plain is probably fine)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (some of the onion I used was a red onion that I roasted, but not roasted is fine too)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger (mine is the paste from a tube)
  • 1 Tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 eggplant, sliced and roasted  
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini 
  • 6 oz plain Greek yogurt


Put everything in the slow cooker except the Greek yogurt and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
Everything goes in the slow cooker. 
Those are frozen "muffins" of shredded zucchini on top.
I came home for lunch at the halfway point and took the chicken out and cut it into bite-sized chunks. 
Mid-point of cooking, took the chicken breasts out. 
Then I used my immersion blender to puree everything else left in the slow cooker. 
The saucy stuff minus the chicken.

whizzing up the saucy stuff.

aiming for a smooth puree.

smooth enough now?
Then I threw the chicken breast chunks back in and let them finish the rest of the cooking time.

When it came time to serve, I got out the container of yogurt and added some of the hot sauce from the slow cooker to it to temper it.  Stir it around and keep adding a bit more of the sauce and stirring until you bring up the temperature a bit, you don't want it refrigerator-cold.  That will prevent it from curdling when you add it to the slow cooker.
Tempering the yogurt.
Add the warmed up yogurt mixture to the slow cooker and stir it around. 
My plate of brown Basmati rice with sauteed spinach and chicken tikka masala.
I served this on brown Basmati rice. for my plate I also added some sauteed spinach since I had it. I thought it might turn Sonny D off, so I only put it on my plate rather than mixing it into the entire batch.


Husband Jeff and I loved this.   I think it needs a ton more tomato flavor (more paste?) to match the version at my favorite Indian buffet, but I think my version is probably way healthier.  I'm glad I resisted the urge to throw in a bunch of extra spices since I don't really know what I'm doing with Indian food.

Sonny D had a bit of rice but later freaked out when I tried to give him rice with the chicken and sauce.  He didn't eat much for dinner that night, which is fine. 

This made a lot, we had it for dinner the first night, and then we each had it for lunch at least one more time, maybe two.  There was still a lot of sauce and chicken left over, so I put it in the freezer so we can have a quick meal later. 

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!