Here is the simple yet delicious recipe for the makhni, or butter sauce. One can then add grilled marinated chicken or even just sautéed pieces of boneless chicken, to make chicken tikka masala.
— Neela Paniz
6 Tbsp. butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 tsp. saffron threads (optional)
2 (28-oz.) cans tomato sauce, preferably without salt
1/2 cup water
1 (2 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 or 3 serrano chiles, minced
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
2 Tbsp. roasted ground cumin
3/4 to 1 tsp. ground Indian red chile
1 1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
2 heaping Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Heat the cooker on high and add the butter to melt. This will take about 10 minutes.
Add the cream and half-and-half to the melted butter. Add the saffron, if using, and mix well. Add the tomato sauce, then rinse the cans with 1/4 cup of water each to get all the sauce; add this to the cooker. Add the ginger, serrano chiles, garam masala, cumin, ground red chile, salt, sugar, and fenugreek, if using, and mix well. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 6 hours. When ready to serve, stir in the chopped cilantro.
Cool any unused sauce to room temperature and store for later use — either in sterilized jars for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or in plastic bags, with all air removed, in the freezer for up to 3 months. Makes 2 1/2 cups.
— From "The New Indian Slow Cooker: Recipes for Curries, Dals, Chutneys, Masalas, Biryani, and More" by Neela Paniz (Ten Speed Press, $19.99)