Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and Cauliflower

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and Cauliflower (Serves 8-12)

I love Indian food. That does not make me an expert, but I know what I like and I like Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and Cauliflower. The first time I made it I cut up a whole chicken and included the bones and skin. The bones were a little annoying and one whole chicken was not enough. The second time I made it – and I made it a second time about a week after making it the first time – I bought 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts at Whole Foods, which yielded 8 portions when divided. That was a lot of chicken and worked out great.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – 8 portions
2 heads of cauliflower
4 Serrano peppers
3 medium sweet yellow onions
2 cans diced tomatoes (mine were Muir Glenn fire-roasted with green chilies)
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1-inch piece of ginger
11 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons macadamia nuts
1 can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons red chili powder
2 tablespoons salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons black pepper
6 cardamom pods, slightly crushed

Directions: Peel onion and cut into chunks. Open cans of tomato paste. Peel ginger. Add onion, tomato paste, ginger, garlic, nuts, coconut milk, and all the spices EXCEPT the cardamom pods to a food processor and grind into a smooth paste. Add a little water if needed. Arrange chicken in slow cooker. Open cans of diced tomatoes and pour over chicken. Pour paste from food processor over the diced tomatoes. Split chilies in half and remove stems. Add cardamom pods and green chilies to slow cooker and use a spoon to tuck them in. Place cover on slow cooker. Set temperature to slow cook (200 degrees on my unit) and time to 8 hours. After 5 hours of cooking, divide 2 heads of cauliflower into florets and add the florets to the slow cooker. Use a spoon to push them down into the sauce and then replace the cover and let it all cook another 3 hours. When done, transfer food to plates and enjoy!

Notes: This was a lot of food; my wife and I ate for several days before it was all gone. It kept well in the refrigerator.

The cauliflower went fast at my house. I began to plate the remaining Chicken Tikka Masala over stir-fried cabbage or with wilted chard.

My slow cooker is a Cuisinart Multi Cooker that I picked up at Williams-Sonoma because my local store had one in stock and I wanted to start cooking right away. Amazon sells the Cuisinart, but seems to be out of stock frequently. The Breville Stainless-Steel 7-Quart Slow Cooker with EasySear Insert on display in my Store is similar. Check them out by clicking on the Store link in the upper right hand corner of this site. The Cuisinart has a see-through top and the Breville has a stainless steel top. I like being able to see inside without opening the lid, but the Breville sells for $75 less than the Cuisinart.

Anupy Singla’s Chicken Tikka Masala recipe in The Indian Slow Cooker inspired my recipe, but I made a fair number of changes, so don’t blame her if my version does not taste authentic enough. Check out her book in my Store.

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7 Responses to “Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and Cauliflower”

  1. What an amazing recipe. It’s better then a restaurant version! Just pulled some of the first batch I made out of the freezer last night and it got even richer and spicier while frozen.

  2. Tried this last week and loved it! The chicken was so tender and delish! I didn’t have the canned tomatoes so I threw a bunch of fresh tomatoes in my blender and crushed them up. There was so much left that I shredded the chicken the next day and we ate it like soup! I’m not good with a lot of heat so I only used two peppers and I used jalapenos instead of serranos because that’s what I had. I also used only half of the chili powder. It was so good. I will be making this one again! Thank you!

  3. What size cans of diced tomatoes do you recommend?

  4. Are you not supposed to put something down in the slow cooker first? The chicken breast is the first thing in there? I would think you’d want to grease the bottom or something.

    • Tom Denham says:

      I guess you could, but I did not have any trouble with sticking. The chicken sweats and there was plenty of liquid in the slow cooker to keep surfaces lubricated.


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