Now this isn’t my first go around with chicken tiki masala, but this is a much more successful go around. Like all families on Christmas, we decided to have one of my crockpot experiments/no one else wanted to cook. This holiday season I got to spend it up in the mountains (spoiled, I know), so I had to pack the seasons for this dish four days before even making the dish. Also, I had to do all of my grocery shopping in a brand new store to me while dealing with the Christmas Eve Rush. (I don’t know if that’s a thing, but it should be. This crowd was ruthless.) The recipe used for this version of chicken tiki masala is pretty much a no brainer, but don’t you worry, I still somehow managed to have a couple mistakes even with my mom in the kitchen with me.
– ~3 lbs of chicken breast (skinless)
– 3/4 yellow onion finely diced (what does that really mean? Not what I thought)
– 4 LARGE cloves of garlic (minced)
– ~2 tbsp of fresh ginger (peel it before you grate it, just saying)
– 1 can 29 oz of tomato purée
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 halves of a big lemon of lemon juice (to be explained later)
– 2 tbsp Garam Masala
– 1 tbsp cumin
– 1/2 tbsp paprika
– 2 tsp salt
– 3/4 tsp cinnamon (who has a utensil in the kitchen that measures this amount, not me! So, this why I eyeballed it)
– 3/4 tsp freshly grounded black pepper (eyeballed as well)
– 3 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
– 1 cup whipping cream/heavy cream (I really hope those are the same, if not whoops)
– 1/2 tbsp corn starch (I got this right!)
One concern I hadn’t thought about until coming up to the mountains is that apparently altitude effects how items are cooked (ie. it takes longer than expected). We had experienced this the night before while making salmon, so I was a bit nervous and this may have altered the recipe a bit.
Because I was going to be out snowboarding early this morning, I actually prepped the dish the night before which I think helped to increase the taste of the dish. The originally recipe called for 1/2 of a yellow onion, but I had 1/4 of one yellow onion we needed to use and 1/2 of a large yellow onion, so I ended up putting more yellow onion than needed but it worked. The part about the onions that I found to be really challenging is making sure they were “diced” enough. Now I know what minced looks like in chopping lingo, but diced? I thought that was bigger than minced but not long strips of onion, so I went with 2 cm square shapes. I still think that this was too big, but no one complained when they were eating onion pieces in the sauce. Next time I’m going with minced.
Speaking of minced, post onions came the garlic. I love garlic so I went big with this and picked the 4 biggest cloves I could find. Then came the ginger. In case no one else has ever worked with ginger before let me explain something. It’s not a hard root (for some reason I always thought that), in fact it’s fairly soft and very juicy. Also, it must be peeled (don’t worry my mom caught me before I put the unpeeled ginger to the grater). The recipe called for 2 tbsp of freshly ground ginger. Now how you grate ginger and make it fit into a tablespoon measuring tool is beyond me, so this was just eyeballed as the ginger made a mess. The same can be said for the lemon juice. I did not buy a bottle of lemon juice. Instead I used two halves (or 1 large lemon) of lemon to squeeze the juice out of and straight into the bowl, not using any measuring tool but my eyeballs.
The rest was pretty straight forward, until I got to the 3/4 teaspoon measurements. Now I don’t have an instrument that measures 3/4 of a teaspoon, but I do know how to estimate. So, all of those measurements: estimated. Of the spices the only one I want to warn about it is the cayenne pepper. Now when reading over the original recipe it states that how spicy you want the dish depends on how much cayenne pepper. I didn’t really take that warning seriously, so I went for it. And I mean I put in a nice helpings of three teaspoons, which equals SPICEY! So as the original recipe says, cayenne pepper = spiciness, and plan accordingly.
At this point I had the sauce done (I had all the spices and the yogurt added in with the onion, garlic, ginger and tomato purée) and I had cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces. Now, because I had made this dish the night before, I ended up stirring the chicken into the bowl with the sauce and setting that over night in the fridge (this is not needed but worked best with my schedule). The whipping cream (my mom told me that’s not the same as heavy cream but oh well) and the corn starch are to be used for the last twenty minutes of recipe.
Cooking the next morning was a breeze. I put the bowl in the crockpot before heading out to a powder day of snowboarding, and when we came home around lunch time the house smelled awesome. All it needs is 8 hrs on low. My timing though proved to be a bit misleading, as I was using a new crockpot that doesn’t have a warm setting (this crockpot is from the 70s and is awesome but very outdated), so while we went to the movies I ended up having to let the recipe sit for two hours on off and continue cooking in its own heat. When I came back, I turned it back on to low and added the cornstarch and whipping cream for additional 20 minutes. After sitting all together and removing the bay leaves, the dish was ready to be served with some white rice.
My family loved it, and it did have a kick, that’s for sure. I thought it should have been creamier, but I think that is because I used whipping cream instead of heavy cream. Everyone had seconds, and everyone was impressed with my cooking skills. (This is the first crockpot dish I had made for my family.) I will for sure be making this version of chicken tiki masala again.
The Nitty Gritty:
– Total Cost: $50.00 – chicken again was the most expensive as I could only find organic
– Total time: 30 minutes prep and 8.5 hours cooking, so 9 hrs
– Serving Size: 5-8 (with everyone able to get seconds)