If you skimmed over my Maniac Monday feature, you probably saw that one of my beloved dishes of the moment is Whole30 Crock-Pot Chicken Tikka Masala. For me, it’s priority that the foods I take in keep my body nourished and awaken my taste buds. This entrée gets the green light. Eating “healthy” is often misconstrued as eating extremely bland food and let me tell you, honey…this Whole30 Chicken Tikka Masala… has SO. MUCH. FLAVOR!
[CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA]
I discovered the recipe here from My Natural Family (merci, Pinterest) but I’ve made a few of my own tweaks to it:
-I typically double the recipe so that I have plenty for the week & some to share with my boyfriend (sharing is caring).
-If I don't double the entire recipe, I at least double the amount of chicken simply because I want the extra protein.
-Season the chicken with a hefty amount of garlic powder, onion powder and a bit of black pepper before I brown it in the skillet. I’m not much for measuring these seasonings; I just sprinkle as much as I feel my flavor sensors deem necessary.
-Using canned fire roasted diced tomatoes versus regular canned diced tomatoes offers it a bit more flare. Not crucial to use the fire roasted, but certainly delectable.
-Add an extra teaspoon or two of minced garlic.
-Add an extra tablespoon of garam masala because once again, flavor.
-Serve over riced cauliflower instead of brown rice to be Whole30 compliant.
The Chicken Tikka Masala recipe in the link above doesn’t provide directions for cooking riced cauliflower, so I’ve decided to extend a helping hand by filling you in on how I prepare mine:
You can rice your own head of cauliflower in the food processor OR you can buy a bag of pre-riced cauliflower at Trader Joe’s or select Kroger locations. Let’s pretend we went to Trader Joe’s and snatched up a bag:
-In a large sauté pan, heat up about 2 tablespoons of ghee or olive oil over medium to medium high heat.
-Dice up half an onion and add that to the ghee once the ghee is hot.
-Reduce the heat just a bit and throw in 2-3 teaspoons of minced garlic. Stir continuously until fragrant. We don’t want to burn our garlic! [might need to add a little more ghee/olive oil to the pan.. just use your best judgment here].
-Sautee until onions are soft/translucent.
-Add in another ½ - 1 tablespoon of ghee and the bag of riced cauliflower. Crank the heat back up to medium-medium high.
-Add 2-3 tablespoons of Whole30 compliant chicken broth. This provides some moisture for the cauliflower to steam with. Start with 2 tablespoons, then add more if you need it.
-I keep the flavor simple since the caulirice isn’t eaten by itself in this case. Feel free to season with as much garlic powder, onion powder & black pepper as you wish.
-Cook the caulirice until it looks soft and tender/is to your desired doneness. This can take anywhere between 10-20 minutes. Keep an eye on it, and try a little spoonful every 5 minutes or so to check on the softness.
-Drain off any excess liquid (if there is any) & voila! You have yourself some cauliflower rice!
I’ve already shared this recipe with one Verticity rider/friend of mine and she gave it a 10/10, no lie. Go ‘head and give it a shot!
-When purchasing items for this recipe, mainly speaking to canned goods here, pay attention to the ingredients to assure that everything is Whole30 compliant. Not sure if the citric acid listed in the canned tomatoes is an ‘okay’ additive? Print off this Whole30 Common Additives cheat sheet to double-check.
-You can find garam masala in the seasoning aisle at the Green Hills Kroger where the Private Selection brand seasoning is located. I’m sure they have it at other Kroger locations as well as International grocers in town.
-For the paprika, I use smoked paprika from Trader Joe’s. There's truly a difference between smoked paprika and regular!
-If you’d like to skip the hassle of ricing your own cauliflower, you can grab a bag of riced cauliflower at Trader Joe’s as well as select Kroger locations.
-Doubling the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe like me? Then double all your cauliflower rice ingredients too!
-Ghee, also known as clarified butter, can be found in the international foods aisle at Kroger where Indian foods are located. Trader Joe’s carries it now as well.