The main thing I miss about living in the city is the availability of ethnic foods. Both restaurants and groceries. I can shop for clothes online (free shipping anyone?!), catch up with friends via email and watch sports events on TV. We have added a few local ethnic restaurants to our favorites list, but have yet to find a great Indian restaurant. When I worked in Surrey there were endless amazing Indian restaurants due to the large South Asian population. Soon I am going to be asking random Indian families to take me home for dinner. When ever I am over on the Mainland heading out for Indian food is a top priority. I end up gorging myself, which is never a good idea as the food tends to be pretty heavy.
I have made a few Indian dishes as home. They all turn out well, but are never as good as the real thing. I am back at it again due to lack of options. This time I tried slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala adapted from Real Simple. It fits my very easy and fast, I have two small children, recipe requirement. I think slow cookers are like magic...insert food, turn on, leave for a few hours, dinner is done. I don't like recipes that call for some kind of cooking before adding to the slow cooker, what is the point of using a slow cooker? It should be all in as far as I am concerned. Again, this recipe passes.
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste (about 4 tablespoons)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 and 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low fat milk
1/2 English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, garam masala to slow cooker and stir.
2. Lay chicken pieces on top
3. In a small bowl, toss the cucumber and cilantro with the lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours
5. Just before serving, whisk together yogurt and milk and stir into chicken.
6. Garnish with cucumber relish.
I served it over basmati rice with a slice of PC Blue Menu Naan (which is very good for store bought in my opinion). The first time I made it I just garnished with fresh cucumbers. It seemed a little strange but added a really nice freshness. I modified the recipe by using a Greek yogurt and milk combo instead of heavy cream...worked great. This really reduces the amount of saturated fat and calories, while increasing protein and calcium. I also increased the amount of garam masala I used. It doesn't add much heat just a lot of flavour, so don't be shy. You can buy garam masala spice mix at most grocery stores. I found the one I used at Thrifty Foods. Watch your rice portions if you are going to have naan too, gets a little carbohydrate heavy. The recipe as written has been doubled by me to make extras for the freezer. It was really tasty. 100% authentic tasting, no....but close.
Fill me in on your favorite Indian restaurant that is closer than Surrey!
Tiffany McFadden, RD