We have lived in our small community for over 27 years. When a new business opens, we try to support it, especially restaurants because, well, our family loves food and loves to eat out. A couple of years ago a new restaurant moved into town, Natraj, serving a cuisine of India. We were excited to try it! At our first visit while browsing the menu, I instantly realized that my boys had no clue what to order. The very nice waiter noticed their perplexed expressions and was quick to jump in and help them. He recommended that they order Chicken Tikka Masala. Well, it has since become one of their favorite dishes.
Last summer I asked Jack what he would like for dinner that night and guess what he requested? I was tempted to call Natraj and order out but Jack said, “Mom, why don’t you try to make it?” Game on! I love a challenge and he loved our new homemade Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala!
Making this recipe in the crock pot is the way to go! Keep in mind that this is one of those dishes that you can play with. If you like an even spicier flavor, then you can add more cayenne or include the jalapeño seeds when mincing the jalapeños. To cut the heat, you can add a dollop of plain yogurt on the top of the Chicken Tikka Masala or add some chopped cucumber on top.
The dish includes garam masala which is a spice that I had never used. It is found with the other spices at your local market and is typically a combination of pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, cardamom and coriander. Take a taste before serving and add more garam masala, cayenne or salt and adjust it just the way you like it! Enjoy!
Remove any extra fat from the chicken and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the pieces to the crock pot.
Add the oil to a medium sized skillet and sauté the onion and jalapeño until they soften, about 3 - 4 minutes.
Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.
To the pan add the ginger and tomato paste and stir.
Next add all the spices ~ garam masala, paprika, salt, cumin, pepper, turmeric, and cayenne to the pan and sauté for another minute while stirring.
Scrape the mixture from the pan onto the chicken in the crock pot.
Add the can of diced tomatoes and can of tomato puree.
Stir to combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours.
Add the cream and stir. Cover and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
Serve with rice and sprinkle with cilantro.