Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Makhani

If you know me personally, you may know of my love of Indian food. I LOVE Indian curries, breads, veggies and especially eating at Indian restaurants. Unfortunately, where I live, there are no Indian restaurants within at least 50 miles. I have a pretty good Bengali cookbook that I cook out of pretty frequently but I just stumbled upon THIS recipe two days ago and made it for dinner last night. It was amazing! My house literally took on the smell of an Indian restaurant as this was simmering in the crock pot. I started with chicken leg quarters frozen solid at almost 2:00 and four hours later, dinner was ready! This recipe came from Her notes are a little different than mine so feel free to get a different take on the same dish at her blog.

Crock pot Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (mine were frozen solid)
1 onion sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
4 T butter
15 cardamom pods (sewn together!)
2 tsp curry
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 can coconut milk (I used light)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 T lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt (to add at the end, I used fat free)

The Directions
Use a 5 quart or larger crockpot. Carefully sew together the cardamom pods using a needle and thread. You can put them in a little cheese cloth bundle, instead, if you have that in the house. Put chicken in crockpot, and add onion, garlic, and all of the dry spices. Plop in the butter and tomato paste. Add lemon juice and coconut milk. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. The chicken should shred easily with 2 forks when fully cooked.Stir in plain yogurt 15 minutes before serving. Discard cardamom pods. Salt to taste, serve with white or brown basmati or jasmine rice.

My Changes
I used 1/2 an onion instead of a whole one. I don't think it makes a huge differences, I just needed my other half an onion for something else.
I used the full amount of butter but think I might leave it out next time or just use 1 T instead. At the end it's just floating on top anyways and it adds unnecessary fat.
My cardamom is crushed into a powder. I used a scant Tablespoon. I've never found whole cardamom pods and always just have to guess how much to use in a recipe. The scant Tablespoon tasted great.
I used the full amount of Cayenne pepper but will probably only use 1/4 tsp next time to make it a little less spicy for my husband.
As I haven't found garam masala in the store, I made my own using a recipe I found on I've included it at the bottom of the post as well.
I used about 3/4 of a can of coconut milk. If you don't have it, I don't think it'll ruin the dish. Just add more yogurt in it's place. I didn't have my coconut milk until right before I served it (Phil picked it up from the store on his way home). The recipe tasted great without it and cooked fine without it as well.

The Verdict
This is so flavorful and delicious. My husband thought the cayenne pepper was a little too strong. If you want flavor from the spices but not spicy, maybe only use a 1/4 tsp or none at all. If you like your food spicy, you might want to double the cayenne. I thought it gave it a little kick but it was not overpowering at all. If you make this, let me know what you think.

If there are any vegetarians out there, I would assume this would be great made with tofu, lentils or veggies. The flavors are so good.

Easy Garam Masala
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl. Place mix in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place.


Georgia said...

Megan, i am planning to make this. but i usually only buy thighs with bone and skin (cause they're .99 a lb). i could peel the skin off, but do you think with the bone in that i'd just cook them longer?

Megan said...

I didn't even realize the recipe called for boneless. I used leg quarters (drumsticks and thighs) with bones and they were frozen solid when I started. They worked just fine and didn't need any extra time. They were deliciously moist as well.

the Indian woman said...

I made chicken makhani before but not in a crockpot. This recipe makes my mouth water. I'll make it soon.

Katie said...

Megan, have you tried Nepal Restaurant on Hwy 82 at the Spring Valley turnoff? I am no conossieur of Indian food, but I love their food, and I bet you would too!

Megan said...

Yes. I have been to that Nepal restaurant...only once. It was SOOOO good! I told Phil just yesterday that he needs to take me on a date there. Maybe on our next MOPS date night we'll go there.

Katie said...

If you have a craving sometime and have to take Taya (sp?) with you, go for it! I have been there several times with Gretchen, and the staff LOVES her. They don't seem to mind her noise, mess, etc., and have even let her run around the back room before while my friend and I lingered, talking. So nice for a change!

Katie said...
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