Tag Archives: Indian

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken dishes are always interesting in the Crock Pot. Unlike fatty pork shoulders or beef roasts full of connective tissue, chicken doesn’t need a long braising time to yield a tender meat. Instead, sometimes chicken Crock Pot meals get a bit stringy and dry. You can avoid this, however, with flavorful braising liquids and by using chicken thighs.

I took a chance on this recipe from Real Simple and found it to be a nice pseudo-Indian chicken dinner. Tikka masala is typically a creamy tomato-based chicken dish with lots of Indian spices. I found the spices to be a bit light, so next time I will add a heavier hand to them.

Regardless, it smelled yummy while cooking and was warm and comforting. Perfect for a day like today, with 24/7 rain!

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 c. Greek yogurt (or sour cream or heavy cream or creme fraiche)

In a slow cooker, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Place chicken on top, cover and cook until chicken is tender, 7-8 hours on low, 3-4 hours on high.

Meanwhile, cook some basmati rice or couscous or heat some naan bread for serving.

Just before serving, stir in the yogurt. Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro, if you have it.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Indian Beef Lettuce Cups

I’m always looking for new, healthy ways to eat beef. I don’t particularly care for ground beef: I think Five Guys is horrible, I prefer turkey-sausage meatballs and  I hate Sloppy Joes.

Mixing beef with complex Indian flavors helps me appreciate this cheap form of red meat. Sizzled together and wrapped in lettuce or, as we did, cabbage, it is a quite nice meal (and a nice leftover lunch for myself).

My only regret is that I don’t have some of the ingredients the recipe asks for (curry leaves, brown mustard seeds), so instead I used a little curry powder, cumin seeds and yellow mustard seeds. If you have the luxury of exotic spices, please use them … and share with me!

I adapted this from Spice Goddess.

Indian Beef Lettuce (or Cabbage) Cups

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried curry leaves (I substituted 1/2 tsp curry powder)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (I used yellow)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 6 to 8 green cabbage leaves
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
In a skillet set over medium-high heat, add the oil. When it’s hot, add the ginger and onions and cook until softened and beginning to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Add the curry, garam masala, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes and cardamom seeds, and cook for 20 seconds. Add the ground beef, sprinkle with salt and stir to break up any chunks. Continue to cook until the beef is cooked through, about 8 minutes.Meanwhile, place a stovetop steamer over medium-high heat and bring to a boil (I just brought some water to boil in a wide pan). Add the cabbage leaves and steam (or simmer) until bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Place them on a platter and spoon the beef on top. Garnish with lemon wedges (which are great squeezed over the top).

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Indian Butter Chicken

I’m really coming to love “The Spice Goddess” on the Cooking Channel. Not only does she cook authentic Indian fare, but she puts a healthier spin on things. Not that anyone’s counting calories or anything, but I can appreciate the effort. And Indian food can be so heavy sometimes.

Because it is so rich and spicy, Indian is also good for the cooler months: When you want whole spices popping in oil in your frying pan and thick yogurt sauces bubbling away. Butter chicken is an Indian dish I’ve been meaning to try, until I watched Bal maker her No-Butter Chicken, which has all the complexity, without all the butter and cream.

Imagine these smells coming from your kitchen: Cumin seeds, garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, garam masala and yogurt. Enough to be authentic, but easy enough for weeknight dining.

Adapted from Bal Arneson…

Indian No-Butter Chicken


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 whole cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water

Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it starts to get hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for 4 minutes, or until the onion is golden. Add the brown sugar, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, garam masala, red chile flakes, turmeric, and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken cubes and stir well to coat. Add the yogurt and water and cook, stirring until the chicken is done, about 8 minutes. Serve the chicken with rice and sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley.

Quite tasty and spicy.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Indian cashew curry


I had avoided making Indian dishes in the past because they just never taste like the real thing. Adding a little curry powder to chicken and vegetables isn’t the same as mixing your own spices, toasting them and then simmering them with meat and herbs.

Then I found this great book in the discount section of Barnes & Noble: The Best Ever Indian Cookbook (375 recipes, all with color photographs depicting each cooking step). It’s like the Cook’s Illustrated for Indian cooking!

I recently made this delicious dish that is complex with spices, but not too peppery, and makes plenty for four adults. If you want more heat, I would add red pepper flakes. It is strongly flavored, but what else would you expect?

Chicken in Cashew Nut Sauce (adapted by Write Gal)

2 medium onions

2 T tomato paste

1/2 c. cashew nuts (unsalted, if you can find it)

1 1/2 tsp. garam masala (in the spice aisle)

1 tsp crushed fresh garlic

1 tsp chili powder

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp ground tumeric

1 tsp kosher salt

1 T plain yogurt

2 T canola oil

2 T fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 c. golden raisins

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cubed

1 1/4 c. water

Long-grain or Basmati rice

Cut the onions into quarters and pulverize in the food processor for 1 min. Add the next nine ingredients, through yogurt, and process until smooth, like a pesto.

In a dutch oven or other heavy pan, heat the oil over medium and add the spice mixture, frying for 2 min. When it’s lightly cooked, add half of the cilantro, raisins and chicken. Stir-fry another minute. Add the water, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook over low heat for 10 min., or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is thickened. The chicken will be tender and perfect.

Meanwhile, as your house fills with those amazing aromas, make the rice according to package instructions. I also heated some naan bread in the oven at 400 with olive oil, salt, cumin and paprika.

To serve, spoon rice, then add the curry and top with more cilantro and sliced naan.

According to the book, each portion has less than 300 calories and very little fat. Not bad for a filling, savory meal!

I will definitely be making this again, as Jesse helped himself to two huge portions (brain food). I get that craving for curry now and again – and when you live in certain regions, it’s best to make your own ethnic foods. 🙂

Enjoy, friends! xoxo