Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crockpot Indian

Chicken Tikka Masala and Mattar Paneer are my two favorite dishes to order at an Indian restaurant, although I am not sure how authentic the first is. When we were in India I was never able to find it on a menu and Americans living in Bangladesh and India had not heard of it. Anyway, this recipe is kind of a combination of both of my favorite dishes. I have made a more traditional Chicken Tikka Masala, but it is a bit of work with the marinade and skewers and grilling, so I much prefer this easier crockpot version. You can also do it with bone-in chicken pieces (layering the sauce, chicken, and cauliflower in your crockpot), but the paneer is just so much easier.

If you do not have access to an Indian grocery store and cannot find paneer in your area, you could always make your own using milk and lemon juice. I have not yet done this, but maybe I will someday, just to see what it is like. If you do have access to an Indian grocery store, pick up a can of pureed mango while you are there and use it to make Mango Lassi to go with your meal (plain yogurt, mango puree, water to thin, and sugar or honey to taste - blend until smooth). Oh and freeze the left-over mango puree for more Mango Lassi or Mango Margaritas:)

Due to my children eating this meal, we do not make it very spicy. If you want more spice, feel free to add a chopped jalapeno with the garlic and ginger.

It is definitely worth the time to make some Whole Wheat Chapatis (Roti) to go with the meal, and I recommend letting the flour mixture sit for 2 hours or more (when I remember to start early enough, I do this). And I've tried the dry skillet method, but it doesn't work well for me, so I use an oil sprayer to coat the pan before each Chapatis goes in. Here is another recipe from one of my favorite Food Network Hosts, for Indian Griddle Breads (aka Chapatis).

Paneer Mattar Masala


  • 1 Package of Paneer
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, pressed
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Ginger
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Juice of, Lemon
  • 1/2 Head of Cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas (thawed or frozen)
  • 1 Salt to Taste
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream


  1. Cut the paneer into bite sized pieces and set aside. (I typically only use half of a block and freeze the other half for another time or another recipe.)
  2. In a skillet, heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the chopped onion.
  3. While onion is softening, mix together the dry spices in a small bowl.
  4. Add the paneer to the onions and brown slightly then add the garlic and ginger. Once this is fragrant add the dry spices and mix thoroughly to coat.
  5. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and lemon juice. (The original recipe calls for using an immersion blender or blending about half of the sauce, but I just keep it thick - do what you like. If you do want to blend it, then don't brown the paneer with the onions; add it after the sauce is blended.)
  6. In your crockpot combine the sauce, (paneer if blending sauce), and cauliflower.
  7. Because the original recipe called for chicken, the instructions were to cook on high for one hour and then low for 4 - 4 1/2 hours, but with paneer that is not necessary. If you want to cook this all day, while you are at work - then I would put it on low and cook for the entire day. If you have much less time or want to start it in the middle of the day (say during nap time) then cook on high for an hour or so and turn to low until cauliflower is at desired tenderness.
  8. Add the peas during the last half hour of cooking.
  9. Before serving, stir in the Heavy Cream, use as much as desired. If you don't have cream, half and half or whole milk will also work, but my preference is the creaminess of the heavy cream.
  10. Serve over rice and with Whole Wheat Roti/Chapatis.
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 5 h 30 min Ready in: 6 h
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Paneer Mattar Masala courtesy of Jamie Del Balso.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays and Simple Lives Thursday.


  1. Hi Jamie,
    This looks great. I'm definitely going to give it a try. Always nice to learn new recipes for the crockpot.

    Just the measurement for crushed tomatoes correct, or is there a digit missing? Just want to make sure before I buy ingredients.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Thanks Genny, it was supposed to read 1 28 oz can - oops. I've fixed it above.

  3. Hi there

    Do you know if this will freeze?