Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Simplified Recipes: Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan Bread

Mr. T and I both LOVE Chicken Tikka Masala -- also known as Butter Chicken -- with Naan bread, but I only make it two or three times a year because it's an elaborate process of marinating and cooking that spans hours and takes a lot of dishes.

I recently thought, "There must be an easier way," so I googled "crock pot chicken tikka masala" and... score!  I quickly discovered that almost all of the links referred to the same recipe by Cooking Classy, so I pinned it and told Mr. T that as soon as we caught up with the dishes, I would make it. That day arrived this weekend.  It was great!  

As I was making it, I thought, "I bet I could make Naan with Rhodes Rolls."  So I googled that, too, and found that Simply Modern Mom had already successfully tried it, doing exactly what I had imagined, with the addition of garlic.

Not including utensils, the entire process takes six dishes/pans: a cutting board, a mixing bowl, a small cup or bowl (used in both recipes), a crock pot, a rice cooker, and a frying pan.

You can click on the two links above to view the original blog posts with these ladies' recipes and photos.  I made some substitutions, mostly to work with what I already had in my kitchen (because I generally don't stock fresh seasonings: I always use powdered).  My simplified versions are given after the jump break.

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

1.  Cut about 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs) into bite-sized pieces

2.  Combine the following spices in a small cup and mix well:
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
2 T. garam masala
1 T. cumin
1/2 T. paprika
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 T. cornstarch
just a dash of ground cayenne (red pepper)
*you can leave the cayenne out completely, or add up to 1 T., depending on your "heat" preferences*

3.  Pour the following into a large mixing bowl and whisk together very well:
1/4 c. dehydrated onions, rehydrated to about 3/4 c. (or half a large yellow onion, diced)
1 1/2 c. plain yogurt
2 6-oz. cans tomato paste, plus 2 cans of water
1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
spice blend from step 2

4.  Pour the sauce blend into a 4-quart crockpot, dump the chicken on top of it, and stir it in to make sure the chicken is separated from itself and covered by the sauce.  Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.  Stir well and serve over a bed of Basmati rice with Naan on the side (recipe below).

Cheater Naan Bread

1.  Thaw one Rhodes roll for each piece of Naan you want.  
2.  Put about a tablespoon of olive oil into a very small cup.  Coat each thawed roll generously with the oil, then sprinkle with garlic salt and roll out with a rolling pin to a 6" to 8" circle (as thin and wide as you can get it).  
3.  Fry both sides on a griddle or frying pan at medium-high heat, until it's got brown spots all over, like a tortilla.  It should puff up with hot air as it cooks, then flatten once you take it off the griddle.