This slow cooker Indian chicken curry is full of flavor from both ground spices and spice seeds. It’s made with chicken thighs that are fall-apart tender by the time the dish is ready.
How to make it (overview with photos):
Although this dish is made in the slow cooker, there is a bit of prep work involved but the curry is so flavorful that it is worth the effort.
Make an onion puree:
The recipe starts with the preparation of an onion puree, a common ingredient used in Indian cooking. The puree gives the sauce its structure and is easily made by boiling chunks of onion in water and then pureeing them in the food processor.
1. Chop a white or yellow onion into 1-inch chunks and boil (uncovered) in water until almost all the water has evaporated. Let cool a bit.
2. Process the onion into a puree, then set aside.
Make a curry spice paste:
The next step is the curry spice paste. It’s made with ground spices along with fresh garlic that are mixed together with a few tablespoons of water.
3. While the cooked onion is cooling, grab a small bowl and add the spices.
4. Mix the spices with water to make a paste, then set aside.
RECIPE NOTE: As always, I highly recommend that you use high-quality spices from a dedicated spice shop for this recipe. High quality spices make a huge difference in any dish and that is especially true for curries.
Prepare the chicken:
5. In a Dutch oven, sear boneless, skinless chicken thighs in vegetable oil.
6. Move the chicken thighs over to one side of the Dutch oven, then add the spice seeds and fry.
7. Add the onion puree, carrot and a star anise.
8. Fry for 10 minutes, then take out the star anise.
Slow cook the chicken:
9. Add the spice paste, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth.
10. Bring to a simmer, then transfer and cook in the slow cooker for 3 hours. Finish with sour cream.
Commonly asked questions:
You can serve the curry with naan or with rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. For extra substance and additional flavors, fry one egg per dish and serve on top of the curry.
The spiciness of this curry is determined by the ground spices. Use a mild chili powder and a mild yellow curry powder for a milder dish and medium for a spicier one.
Transfer any leftovers into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Yes, you can make the curry up to 2 days ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes, this curry freezes well and you can transfer it into a freezer bag after letting it cool to room temperature, seal and put in the freezer.
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Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 4 teaspoons mild or medium yellow curry powder* (depending on how spicy you would like the dish)
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
- ¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- ¼ teaspoon whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
- 1 whole star anise
- ½ carrot, sliced
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ⅔ cup sour cream or more, if desired
- cilantro, for garnish
- 2 over easy eggs, optional
- Peel the onion and chop into ~ 1-inch chunks. Add the chunks to a pot along with 1 cup of water and boil without a lid until almost all water has evaporated. Let cool for a bit.
- Transfer the boiled onion along with any remaining water into a food processor and process into a puree. Set aside.
- Combine ginger, garlic, turmeric, curry powder and chili powder in a small bowl.
- Stir 3 tablespoons of water into the spices and mix with a spoon to make a paste. Set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven until shimmering. Sear the chicken thighs on both sides in the hot oil.
- Turn the heat down, move the chicken thighs over to one side of the Dutch oven and add fenugreek, cumin, coriander and mustard seeds to the other side. Fry the seeds for 4 – 5 minutes (the seeds need to sizzle but be careful not to burn them).
- Carefully add the onion puree, then the star anise and the carrot.
- Turn the heat back up and fry the onion and carrot for 10 minutes. Remove the star anise and discard.
- Add the spice paste, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth and mix well. Let the mix come to a boil, then transfer to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours.
- Stir in the sour cream.
- Serve the curry with naan or rice and sprinkle with cilantro.
- For extra flavor and substance, fry one egg per serving either sunny side up or over easy and put it on top of the curry.