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Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala
Appliance: Slow Cooker - 4 quarts and larger
Contact Grill - 4 servings or larger See Note
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This Gluten Free, Indian recipe is great for Pot Lucks
Chicken Tikka Masala
For the Marinade:
   1 cup plain yogurt
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 inch piece)
   1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
   1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

   2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the sauce:
   1 small onion, sliced
   1 teaspoon cooking oil (if grilling onions)
   4 cloves garlic, minced
   1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
   1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 inch)
   1 teaspoon ground cumin
   2 teaspoons ground coriander
   1/2 teaspoon turmeric
   1 tablespoon garam masala
   1 teaspoon salt
   1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
   1 tablespoon paprika (optional)

   3/4 cup plain yogurt
   1 tablespoon corn starch

   1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

For the Marinade:
In a small bowl, whisk yogurt until smooth and then add the remaining marinade ingredients. With a fork, pierce chicken pieces several times. Place chicken in a large zipper bag or non-reactive bowl, add marinade and mix well. Hands work best. Seal or cover chicken and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

Grill the onions (optional):
Preheat contact grill according to manufacturer's instructions for vegetables or medium-high to high, depending on your model. Use grill plates, if applicable. Toss onions and oil together in a small bowl. Grill onions until browned, 3-5 minutes. Add grilled onions to the crock or inner bowl of your slow cooker. Wipe grill plates.

Grill the chicken:
Preheat contact grill to high. Working in batches, remove chicken from marinade, shake off excess, and grill in a single layer, not touching, until browned, 3-6 minutes (depending on the temperature of your grill's high heat setting). Repeat as needed, wiping grill plates between batches, if necessary. Chicken will not be cooked through, but will finish in the sauce. Discard marinade.

Thoroughly combine sauce ingredients (except yogurt and corn starch) in the crock or inner bowl of your slow cooker. Omit oil if not grilling onions. Stir in grilled chicken. Cover and cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees (F), 4-6 hours on Low or 2-3 hours on High.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and corn starch until smooth. To help prevent curdling, whisk a couple of tablespoons of the hot cooking liquid into the yogurt mixture until well blended, then repeat once or twice more, until the yogurt mixture is luke warm before adding to the chicken mixture. Mix well, then allow to cook an additional 30 to 40 minutes until slightly thickened.

Stir in cilantro, if using. Serve over rice with naan or other flat bread.

NOTE: Tikka is essentially Indian barbecue, food grilled in a charcoal or wood burning oven. This dish is a fairly modern creation, and a great way for restaurants and street vendors to use up leftover grilled chicken. There is an easier, slow cooker only version of the recipe (the chicken is not grilled, but simmered instead) and a quicker contact grill and rice cooker version.

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