The Secrets to Making Incredible Indian Food in Your Slow Cooker

Here's How to Make Incredible Indian Recipes in Your Slow Cooker
IStock/GMVozd

With its endless depth of flavor and inspiring concoctions of curry, tikka masala, and naan, Indian cooking is downright delightful.  We’ve rounded up the best slow cooker Indian recipes along with tips and tricks to unlock the mystery of Indian cooking for both the seasoned and the not-so-seasoned chef.

Indian Spices You Will Need to Get Started

The key to Indian cooking is having the right spices, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy 30 new ingredients. Instead, start with these necessities.

1. Cardamom

While there are three types of cardamom: green cardamom, black cardamom, and Madagascar cardamom, most Indian recipes call for green cardamom. It’s best to buy the seeds before they’ve been ground down to maintain the flavor. If you can’t find them at your local health foods store, purchase cardamom seeds online ($6 for 3.5 ounces).

2. Cloves

Cloves are used in all sorts of ethnic cuisines from African to Middle Eastern. And they’re often used in Indian curries. They can be used in ground spice mixes or in their whole form. Buy organic whole cloves at any grocery store or online ($13 per pound).

3. Cumin

Cumin is a flowering plant found in the Mediterranean and in Asia. Its seeds are prominent in so many Indian recipes. It’s very common at most grocery stores and can be purchased online. Make sure you buy cumin seeds, rather than ground cumin, to retain the flavor ($12 per pound).

4. Coriander

Coriander is a spice that’s been used for millennia. It grows wild in Sudan and Egypt and is produced throughout Russia, India, and South America. The aromatic seeds are often used in Indian cooking. Coriander is found at most grocery stores, but you can also purchase it online ($5 per pound).

5. Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are a central part of a very important Indian cooking technique called tempering. Heat up the spice in oil for a few minutes until it pops and releases its flavor. Mustard seeds are present in so many Indian recipes. ($5 for 8 ounces)

Chef’s Tips

IStock/GMVozd
IStock/GMVozd

Indian cooking is of course not just about the spices, it’s also about learning some new techniques. Take your time and learn the beauty and subtlety of Indian cooking.

1. Temper your spices.

As mentioned above with mustard seeds, learning to infuse oils with spices is crucial to Indian cooking. It takes practice to truly get a feel for it, but generally speaking, you’re waiting for seeds to pop and aromas to be released. Be particularly careful around the hot oil.

2. Start simple.

When it comes to Indian cooking, make sure you start simple. Take your time and make sure you enjoy the learning process. After all, learning your way around the kitchen should be fun.

3. Understand your slow cooker.

Not all slow cookers are created equal, and as a result, cooking times may vary. Some of the newer slow cookers tend to cook faster than older models. That said, it’s best to experiment with your slow cooker until you really know her personality.

4. Soak and rinse your legumes and grains.

Rinse legumes and grains until the water comes out clear. Legumes often require a good soak to remove both the flatulence factor (the gas and indigestion they can cause) and to reduce cooking time.

5. Make your own garam masala.

Garam masala isn’t listed in the necessary spices above because it’s best to make it yourself. Here’s how:

Garam Masala

1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions

1. Combine well and store in an airtight container. This combination can be used in so many of your favorite Indian recipes.

Indian Slow Cooker Recipes

Here's How to Make Incredible Indian Recipes in Your Slow Cooker
IStock/zefirchik06

One of the main hindrances to cooking is finding appealing recipes. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you. Try these completely delectable Indian slow cooker recipes:

This recipe is a great way to take yummy eggplant front and center. It’s a hearty vegetarian main course that your entire family will love.

Butter chicken looks, smells, and tastes amazing. That creamy, vibrant sauce is almost too much to handle, but the only problem is it’s not vegetarian. Until now. This Veggie Converter recipe shows us how to use seitan to make amazing butter “chicken”.

Lemon dal is a great combination of sour and creamy. It’s the astringent flavor of lemon combined with slow cooked, soft and delicious lentils. Add this super healthy Indian mainstay to your repertoire with an easy slow cooker recipe. And the leftovers make for the perfect next day meal.

It’s getting chilly outside, which leaves us all craving some tasty soup. Add Indian spices to your butternut squash for a delicious take on a traditional winter soup. It’s simple and truly tasty.

Vegetarian and loaded with protein, this is a good way to put eggs to good use in your Indian recipes. The eggs used in this recipe are boiled to give the dish an interesting texture.

Do you love Indian cooking? Do you use your slow cooker to make your favorite Indian recipes? We want to know your favorite ideas! Drop us a line via Twitter @OrganicAuthorit.

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Sara Novak
Sara Novak

Sara Novak is an independent journalist who reports on health, science, yoga, and travel. She was a writer for Discovery Communications from 2006-2013 and her work has been featured on Discovery Health, Popular Science, TLC, Animal Planet, What to Expect, TreeHugger, and many more. She’s also a certified yoga teacher. When she's not churning away on her laptop, she can be found atop her yoga mat or walking the beach with her husband, baby boy, and two lovable cocker spaniels.