By Sarah Huggins
My husband and I hail from vastly different culinary traditions. We are both Canadian-born and raised, but he’s from a vegetarian Indian family and I’m from a meat-eating British one. Our wedding was a two-day affair at which our guests enjoyed a taste of each food heritage: chai, naan and chana masala on Day 1, and lamb chops, oysters and B.C. pinot gris on Day 2.
Six years and two kids later, we have evolved our own shared culinary tradition, which can be best described as a Canadian “mash-up.” Our four-year-old eats seaweed salad alongside her chicken curry, and our 20-month-old is just as likely to shovel in a bowl of tabbouleh as he is to devour a piece of pizza.
If we had a poster child recipe for this new family cuisine, these Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders would be it: shredded slow-cooked chicken bathed in rich butter chicken gravy, piled onto a soft bun and garnished with fresh veg. Is it “Indian food”? That might be a stretch. But it’s our food. It’s authentic to our experience as a mixed family living a busy life in the most multicultural city on earth. There are few things more Canadian than that.
Slow-Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders, Courtesy of Sarah Huggins, kiwiandbean.com, Toronto
These bite-size butter chicken sliders are perfect for get-togethers – and they’re easy to make ahead.
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 7 hour
Yield: 8-10 servings
2½ tbsp (27 mL) butter or oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 thumb-size pieces gingerroot, peeled and finely grated
2 tsp (10 mL) garam masala
2 tsp (10 mL) cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) tsp turmeric
½-1 tsp (2-5 mL) cayenne pepper (optional)
14 oz (398 mL) can full-fat coconut milk
5½ oz (156 mL) can tomato paste
3 lb (1.35 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch
¼ cup (50 mL) whipping cream (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
10 small slider-sized hamburger buns
1. Heat butter in medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened and starting to brown. Add garlic and ginger; continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is brown and caramelized.
2. Add garam masala, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper, if using, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
3. Stir in coconut milk and tomato paste. Bring to boil, then remove from heat.
4. Make ahead: Transfer mixture to airtight container; cool and cover. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Or pour into slow cooker and proceed.
5. Add chicken thighs to coconut milk mixture in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken thighs are very tender.
6. Remove chicken to plate and shred. Whisk cornstarch into the sauce and turn the slow cooker to high. Stir in whipping cream, if using. (To prevent cream from curdling, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter chicken sauce to whipping cream to bring to room temperature, and then pour into crock pot). Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Return shredded chicken to sauce and stir.
8. Serve on slider buns; garnish as desired with cabbage, cucumber, cilantro and chutney.
Note: Leftovers can be cooled in the fridge and then frozen in Ziploc bags or containers.
(Cooking For) Kiwi and Bean
(Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean is all about simple, wholesome family recipes: dinners you can create with pantry staples when you walk through the door at the end of the day, breakfasts you can whip up the night before, and snacks and treats that you can make with your kids.