Happy new year!
Lately I’ve been in an Indian state of mind. One of the things that attracts me to this cuisine is how the flavors mirror those of my own ethnic background (I’m of Chinese and Burmese descent). Lots of ginger, curry, cilantro, and cardamom in both cuisines. Unfortunately, the only experience I have with Indian food are the platefuls of fabulous at a friend’s home, but mainly in restaurants. I’m fairly certain that what you get in typical Indian restaurants is the equivalent of eating Chinese takeout: Americanized at best and an utterly cruel parody of the real thing at worst.
Anyway, today I had to rely on my own woefully limited knowledge of Indian food. And to add insult to injury, I was hoping to use my slow cooker. *prays good Desi friend in NJ isn’t reading this blog post* I don’t pretend that this is anything close to authentic Indian food because it’s not. But it tastes good and that’s what matters most to me. Well, authenticity does too but I’m looking the other way today!
If you don’t have garam masala and it’s not easily found in your area, you can order it online. Companies like Penzey’s and Kalustyans sell garam masala, as does Amazon.com. I think Trader Joe’s sells garam masala paste (Patak brand), and that would work very nicely
Be sure to add the cream last; the acidity of the tomato can curdle it if it’s allowed to simmer together the whole time. The fat in the cream helps to prevent that, but it’s not foolproof, which is why you add the cream at the end of cooking. I also don’t recommend using lower-fat dairy. If you like, you can add a can of drained diced tomato along with the tomato sauce.
And, erm, don’t be like me and forget to add the peas. *embarrassed*
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or to your taste
- 2 lbs frozen chicken breasts, bone-in
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 10-oz box frozen peas
In a large nonstick fry pan, melt butter over medium heat, and cook onions until soft and start to turn golden in color. Add garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne, and cook for one to two minutes or until fragrant. Stir in tomato sauce and turn off heat.
Set frozen chicken pieces in slow cooker, pour sauce over, set cooker to low, and cook for 6-8 hours. In last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in cream and peas. Serve over basmati rice.