I've been loving my slow cooker lately. The ability to cook once and have more than 3 meals worth of food (for 2 people) is incredibly alluring. A lot of slow cooker recipes involve some extra steps like browning meat, sauteeing vegetables or heating up the liquid, but not this one. When I came up with this recipe, I was in the process of moving (I have a huge kitchen now--cooking is so much more exercise!), so I wanted to pile everything in the slow cooker as is and pretty much forget it. You do have to remember to add the beans and coconut milk towards the end, but I am okay with that.
For all the simplicity of preparation, I couldn't get over how much I liked this dish. I ate it three nights in a row with complete happiness. One last thing: You're probably used to seeing slow cooker recipes in the fall and winter, but I'm making a case for them in the summer: you do minimal work, you won't heat up your kitchen, and you can create leftovers for subsequent meals. Unless you're grilling, what else could be better when you want to get out and enjoy the glorious weather?
Slow Cooker Chicken-Chickpea Curry, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
Use the spice quantities as guidelines since brands and tastes vary, however, you will need quite a lot of seasoning to flavor this big batch. I happen to like the flavor of commercial curry powders (I've been using McCormick), and I recommend using one in this dish. If you don't have garam masala, however, you can always toss in some combination of cumin, coriander, cardamom (it's strong, so use sparingly, maybe 1/8 tsp), ginger and cloves to get somewhere in the same neighborhood. Idli are soft, savory “cakes” made with rice flour and lentil flour. I buy frozen ones at the Indian grocery store, and they’re great for soaking up the juices from thick soups (like sambar) and curries like this. Any kind of rice, or even quinoa, would be great too.
Serves 6 (generously) to 8
2 2/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup water
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes (not unsalted)
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 white or yellow onion, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if canned
Rice or idli
In a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker, combine chicken, ginger, garlic, curry powder, garam masala, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine. Add water and tomatoes and their juice, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands as you add them. Stir gently to evenly distribute tomatoes. Layer the red bell peppers on top, followed by the onion (do not stir).
Cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Gently stir. If mixture is too watery, ladle out some of the liquid to reach desired consistency (mixture should be like a thick stew). Stir in coconut milk; add chickpeas on top of the other ingredients without stirring. Continue cooking until chicken is very tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Stir mixture and check seasoning. Serve with plenty of lime wedges and rice or idli.