Chicken Tikka Masala

A slightly modified version of Danielle Walker’s Against all Grain version from her cookbook, Meals Made Simple. Make it in the slow cooker for a more tender version or on the stove for the quick-fix.

½ cup cashews, raw, unsalted
2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut or cubed into 1-2” pieces
1 6-oz can tomato paste
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 ½ tablespoons Garam Masala (see below)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne *optional, add for more spice
1 16-oz can coconut milk, full cream, preferably without guar or xantham gum (Trader Joes)
2 tablespoons honey or agave

Make the Garam Masala Spice Mix
You can buy premixed spice blends at the store, but I prefer this mixture. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can grind the seeds fresh and then combine with pre-ground spices.

1 t Turmeric
¼ t Cardamom (or 10 seedpods with the seeds removed to grind)
¼ t Ground black pepper (or 8 peppercorns)
¼ t Ground cloves
1½ t Cumin
2 t Coriander (or about 3t worth of seeds)
1 t Chili powder

Make the Cashew Cream
Submerge the cashews in water and let sit. After chicken is prepared, drain and add to blender with ¼ cup fresh water. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Make the Chicken and Sauce
Slow Cooker Version:
Chop the onions to ¼-inch slices, mince the garlic and cube the chicken to large bite-sized pieces. Add everything into the crockpot, mix around so spices get to every bit of chicken and cook for 6 hours on low.

Stovetop Version:
In a large, deep skillet, heat two tablespoons oil (coconut or other.) Chop the onions to ¼-inch slices, mince the garlic and cube the chicken to large bite-sized pieces. Add to onions and garlic to hot skillet and turn to low. Toss the chicken in Garam Masala, salt, ginger, paprika, and cayenne. Add to pan and increase heat to medium to brown the chicken. In a 2-cup measure or pourable bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, coconut milk, and honey before adding to the pan and simmering on medium-low for 20 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Stir in cashew cream before serving with regular Jasmin rice or grain-free cauliflower rice.
For 1 cup of rice, use 1½ c water, and 1 c coconut milk and simmer on low until rice is tender. Optionally, add 1t of ground saffron per cup of dry rice.

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