Do you own a slow cooker? My family never had one when I was growing up. All we needed was a gas stove and an outside grill for Korean barbecue. We didn’t even use the oven! We had one but my mom would store her pots and pans in there. Outrageous, I know. And when I asked if we could ever bake some cookies, she’d say, “Well our oven doesn’t work.” I think what she meant to say was, “Well, I don’t know how to use it. And even if I did, I don’t want to take out all the stuff in there.” Yup, that is the life of a very traditional Korean family.

But being the deprived slow-cooker gal, I just had to get one and see what all the fuss was about with this kitchen equipment. I’d hear rave reviews about a slow cooker – how you put everything in the pot and voila, dinner is served in 8 hours. But then I always wondered, why in the world would you want to wait 8 hours for dinner? And then I realized that 8 hours for dinner is absolutely perfect. You could pop everything in the slow cooker in the morning and by the time you come home, dinner is set and ready to go. It’s genius!

So for my slow cooker inauguration, I decided to make chicken tikka masala. There are quite a few ingredients involved but everything just gets thrown into a bowl and mixed. Simple and easy, right? And that’s pretty much it. You’ll have an incredibly flavorful and aromatic chicken tikka masala with just enough of a spicy kick served on a bed of basmati rice right when you come home from work. It doesn’t get easier than that!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala (adapted from Cooking Classy):

Yields 6-8 servings

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed, sliced in half and seeds removed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Basmati rice, for serving
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Trim the fat from the chicken breasts.

Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the onions, garlic, ginger and jalapeno.

Stir in the tomato puree, yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garam masala, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

Pour half of the sauce mixture into a slow cooker.

Add the chicken.

Cover with remaining sauce mixture and add the bay leaves.

Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and cornstarch. Add to the slow cooker and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and sliced jalapenos.

While the chicken is cooking for the last 20 minutes, cook the basmati rice according to package instructions.

Serve the chicken immediately over basmati rice, garnished with cilantro.

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