A melt-in-your-mouth chicken dish with warming Indian spices.
Everyone loves Nicole Cabot’s slow-cooked tikka masala, perfectly spiced with fork-tender pieces of chicken. It can be cooked in a Crock Pot or in a heavy, oven-safe dish such as a Le Creuset any time of year, but is so comforting in the cold weather. Don’t be thrown off by the list of ingredients — 10 of the ingredients are spices. Any combination of steamed carrots, cauliflower, and green beans can top the tikka, served over rice. A dollop of spiced chutney tastes delicious. Serves 4.
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 ½- inch cubes
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons garam masala (store bought or make your own — recipe below)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1–2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 small can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups whole milk plain yogurt, plus extra 1/2 cup for garnish
2 bay leaves
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
Juice of half a lemon
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut or olive oil in large cast iron or other heavy skillet until shimmering. Add chicken in batches to brown. Set aside.
- Add onion and other tablespoon of oil to the skillet and cook on low heat 3–4 minutes until softened. Add garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Add all ground spices and cook 30 seconds on medium heat. Turn off heat.
- Return chicken to pan. Coat with spices. Add tomato paste and yogurt and coat the chicken. Pour everything into a heavy, covered baking dish such as a Le Creuset or Crock Pot/slow cooker. Add bay leaves. Cook in a slow cooker for 4 hours on low or cook in oven-proof dish at 300 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours. When chicken is fork tender, it is done. Check that the temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees.
- Stir in the coconut milk and lemon juice until warmed through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Top with steamed cauliflower, carrots, and/or green beans or peas, if desired. Serve with basmati or jasmine rice, naan bread, extra yogurt, chopped cilantro, and chutney.
Make Your Own Garam Masala
Like curry, garam masala is a mix of spices. Which spices and the amounts will vary from recipe to recipe or person to person. If you have a decent range of spices, you can make your own — and tailor it to your own likes.
2 tablespoons cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
Mix all the spices together in a small bowl.