Hands up if the first thing you look for an in Indian restaurant is a Chicken Tikka Masala! Yep, me too, and a Peshwari naan! You literally can’t go wrong with a slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala – it’s a classic British Indian dish, and for a good reason. Full of flavour, healthy and a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
History of the Chicken Tikka Masala
There are many stories about the origins of the Chicken Tikka Masala – but the one I like to believe is that it was invented in a restaurant named Shish Mahal in Glasgow. Supposedly a man ordered a chicken curry, and sent it back because he thought it was dry.
The owner, a Pakistani chef named Ali Ahmed Aslam, improvised a sauce with tomato soup and spices. It was promptly sent back to the table and the man absolutely loved it – so much so that he returned again and again with his friends, and it soon became a dish on their menu. The rest, as they say, was history.
Tips for a good Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
The list of ingredients is long – but don’t be put off by thinking this is a difficult slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala to make – it’s easy peasy! All of the ingredients are available from any good supermarket.
On that note, don’t be tempted to use spices you have had in your cupboard for years – whilst it’ll still taste good, new spices will make a massive difference to the overall flavour!
This was the very first curry I tried in the slow cooker, so the recipe you see here has had many years of tweaks and refinement…and if I may say so myself, it’s pretty damn good.
Difference Between Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken
The spices in a Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken are similar – the main difference is the marinated and charred meat in the Chicken Tikka Masala. Try our Slow Cooker Butter Chicken recipe for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.
I really hope you enjoy making and eating this as much as I did, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this recipe and a take away.
Can I freeze leftover Chicken Tikka Masala?
Chicken Tikka Masala will keep in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, and ensure it’s piping hot all the way through before serving. If it looks a little dry you can loosen up the sauce with a little hot water before reheating.
Alternatively, it’ll keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
How to make Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
For the marinade
- 4 garlic cloves – crushed
- 1 tsp ginger – ground
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chilli powder – ground, mild
- 1 lemon – juiced
- 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 500 g (1 lb) chicken thighs
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion – large white, chopped
- 2 red pepper – capsicum
- 3 garlic cloves – crushed
- 400 g (2 cups) tomato passata
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp paprika – not smoked, ideally ground sweet paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp ginger – ground or fresh can be used if you have it
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp dried coriander – finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) can be used if available
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp chilli powder – mild
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 5 tbsp natural yogurt
- 75 ml (0.32 cups) cream – double or single
Marinade the chicken
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly.
- Roughly chop the chicken thighs into large chunks, and add to the marinade mixture coating the meat thoroughly. Seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes (2-3 hours ideally).
Cook chicken and sauce
- Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and heat a pan on the hob with the oil. Ensuring the pan is hot, place in the pieces of coated chicken to flash seal them. This should create a brown coating on the outside of the pieces of chicken. Then place the chicken pieces in the slow cooker.
- Roughly chop the onion and pepper and crush the cloves of garlic, add these to the pan with the chicken. Next pour over both the tomato passata and tomato paste. Stir well.
- In a separate bowl combine the ingredients for the sauce, mixing through well. Pour this over the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker ensuring everything is coated in the mixture. Cook for 4 hours on a high setting, or 6 hours on low, stir and then serve with rice and a sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander.