Chicken Tikka Masala

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

I really, really wanted to get this recipe right, because it’s such a crowd-pleasing favorite that in its non–slow cooker forms relies a great deal on techniques and processes that don’t necessarily translate to slow cookerdom. I went through probably half a dozen trials and finally came up with something I was quite happy with. Then my friend Leda tried out my recipe for her husband and her mother-in-law, who are accomplished cooks from Hyderabad. They were not impressed; they had some helpful suggestions, and I headed back to the kitchen for more experimenting. The results, I have to admit, were worth it.


  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or ghee
  • 3 coins fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chile, chopped, seeded if you’d like less heat
  • 1 (14.5-ounce/411-g) can diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 2 pounds (910 g) well-trimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup (120 ml) plain Greek yogurt (preferably full-fat)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 2 cups (360 g) basmati rice
  • Pinch of salt



In a small cup, combine the coriander, paprika, and cumin. In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the ginger, garlic, and chile and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant and the garlic is just starting to brown. Add the spices and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the tomatoes and their juices, stirring to mix all the aromatics into the tomatoes. Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker and add the chicken, turning to coat it with the sauce and then folding the thighs on themselves and tucking them into a single layer in the pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.


Turn the cooker to high. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl (it will be very tender and almost falling apart, and it’s okay if some of the vegetables come with it, and if small bits of chicken remain in the cooker). With an immersion blender, blend the yogurt and cream into the sauce in the cooker until smooth. Stir in the cilantro, if you’d like. Return the chicken to the sauce and cover while you cook the rice.

Put the rice in a sieve and rinse very well under running water. Dump into a 2-quart (2-L) saucepan and add 2¼ cups (540 ml) water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once to unstick any grains from the bottom of the pan, then cover and cook over the lowest heat for 14 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Let stand, covered, for 3 minutes, then fluff with a fork or spatula. Serve with the chicken.