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Top Ten Slow Cooking Recipes

I love the way food trends change over time.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Top Ten Slow Cooking Recipes

It's like fashion – we go from the mini skirt to flairs and back again. It's the same with cooking. We've been through the quick pressure cooking phase to microwaves to raw food to low and slow. But recently there's been a bit of a revival in slow cooking mainly triggered by better technology and new funky cookers coming onto the market.

And you can see why. Slow cooking produces really tasty budget meals with very little fuss. Really, the slow heat does all the work and it's a great way to turn cheaper or tougher cuts of meat into really hearty meals. And if you work long hours, then this is the perfect way to ensure you eat well and have a delicious meal waiting for you when you get home.

Slow cooking is great for Indian food. In fact, it works so well that I've written a book on the subject. It's called "The Easy Indian Slow Cooker Cookbook" and is available to pre-order on Amazon.com.

Order Your Slow Cooking Cookbook Today

 

Slow Cooking

You don't have to go out and buy an electric slow cooker. There are a number of options you can try:

1. Stock Pot

This is a large stainless steel pot that's usually taller than it is wide (and has two handles). These work the same way as any saucepan but they are bigger so cook larger volumes. The food is just cooked on the hob on a very gentle heat, although I'm never comfortable going out all day leaving something cooking on the stove!

2. Casserole

This is usually an ovenproof pot made of ceramic material, glass or cast iron, with a tight-fitting lid. You simply pop all the ingredients in and then place the pot in the oven on a low heat. I like this type of slow cooking because the heat in the oven is indirect so it circulates around the pan and cooks everything more evenly. Some modern cookers even have a slow cook setting.

3. Slow Cooker

This is an electrical pan that has a removable internal pot. The heat is usually applied around the sides of the pot (it has lots of settings for different dishes) so just make sure you have enough food in there for it to cook efficiently. It's all a bit 70s this, but it's actually a really convenient way to cook, and you can safely leave everything to cook overnight or all day.

I always thought that slow cooking was about throwing everything into one pot and leaving it to bubble away. And although essentially it is, there is also a little more to it. For example, you have to cook the onions or brown the meat first if you're making a casserole. But cooking this way usually takes little time to prepare and it frees your day up.

In an electric slow cooker you can either leave things to cook on high for four to six hours or on low six to eight hours - Ideally I would cook on low to get the best flavour. If going for the casserole method, cook in the oven at 120C for 6-8 hours. There is nothing more amazing then coming home to something hot and delicious waiting for you. And I don't mean George Clooney. Well, I do. But... oh you know what I mean!

Slow cooking tips

1. Lightly season your dish at the beginning of cooking. The slow cooking will concentrate the sauce so it's best to adjust seasoning later to stop it becoming too salty.

2. Choose your meat carefully as you don't want it all to disintegrate, these cuts work really well but you can also cook whole joints too:

- Beef; go for shin, stewing steak, skirt, brisket or topside
- Chicken; meat on the bone is best either thigh or drumsticks
- Pork; shoulder and neck work really well
- Lamb; shoulder, chump, neck and leg joints are good

3. Lamb cooks faster than other meats when slow cooked

4. It's not only meat that can be slow cooked; there are some fab lentil dishes too.

5. Don't add too much liquid you only need to just cover the ingredients. As the lid is tight fitting the liquid won't evaporate.

6. Trim the excess fat - although you are not adding any extra oil to the dish with slow cooking the fat from with meat will remain in the dish the dish and if this is excessive it will make your dish greasy. I remove all extra fat and even the skin from chicken when slow cooking.

Here are a few other slow cooker tips from myself and other notable chefs.

My top 10 (in no particular order) slow cooker Indian recipes. 

Here are some of my favourite recipes that all work beautifully in a slow cooker. The recipes do need to be adapted slightly for slow cooking from what's on my website and I've given you pointers in how to do this. For any of these, you can substitute the meat for beef if you'd prefer.

1.Thari Wala Chicken is a traditionally cooked chicken curry and I’d recommend using chicken on the bone with the skin removed for slow cooking. Follow the recipe to step 3 then pour it into a slow cooker with about 200ml of water and leave to gently cook through.

chicken-thariwala-blog

2.Slow Cooked Lamb Shank is a great one because the meat will cook until it is so soft and tender it just melts. Follow the recipe to step 8 and then leave it to slow cook. I wouldn't worry too much about cooking the tomatoes in step 5, just add the yoghurt and water then leave to do its thing.

lamb shank blog

3. My mum tells me that when she was a girl Dhal Makhani would be cooked really slowly overnight on the dying embers of the fire. This method is what gives this lentil dish its soft creamy texture (and not by adding bucket loads of cream!). In a pan, start from step 3 and at step 8, add the uncooked lentils with the water and half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes (if using kidney beans this is essential) then move everything into the slow cooker. Cook on the low setting in the slow cooker for 8-10 hours. Do check the lentils are soft and cooked though before serving; if not, just heat them through on the stove until they are. To loosen the dhal a little, add a little hot water and heat through. Finish with some lovely butter, garam masala, dried fenugreek and coriander – wowzer!

dhal-makhani-blog

4. For the Pork Vindaloo, just make up the spice paste and coat the meat. There's no need to leave the meat to marinade, as the length of the cooking time will have the same effect. I would go straight into cooking the spices and browning the meat, then getting it into the slow cooker with about 200ml water with the potatoes (go for a waxy potato, something like a Desiree). Leave it to cook and before you serve, if it needs thickening, you can just stir-fry it on a high heat.

pork-vindaloo-blog

5. A lovely Lamb Madras will come out hot and fragrant and again, it's really simple to adapt to the slow cooker. The process is pretty much the same – make up the Madras powder and brown the onions (maybe reduce the cook time from 20 minutes to 10) in a pan then add the ginger, garlic, chilli, tamarind, tomatoes and about 100ml water. Then pour into the slow cooker and leave to cook.

lamb-madras-blog

6. A traditional Rogan Josh is cooked without onions or tomatoes and works pretty well in a slow cooker. Just follow my recipe step by step, although the only addition is to add 150ml water when you start to cook it. Perfect with some plain Basmati rice.

lamb-rogan-josh-blog

7. A Lamb Bhuna needs to have a thick, rich masala sauce that clings to the meat, so once this dish is cooked you can thicken the sauce by turning the heat up and frying off any excess liquid. Again, this would be perfect to cook with beef in the slow cooker too. Just make sure you add about 200ml of water when you add it to the slow cooker.

lamb-bhuna-blog

8. For the Methi Murgh dish I would use chicken on the bone and keep a little of the fenugreek leaves to add at the end just to freshen it up. The method is the same, but I would add the yoghurt 1 tbsp at a time at the end and reduce the amount of water to about 100ml. Leave it to cook in the slow cooker for 6 hours on low.

chicken-with-kasoori-methi-blog

9.The Lamb Dhansak is the perfect one pot slow cook dish. Start at step 2 as you don't need to cook the lentils in a pressure cooker first. After step 3 of the masala, add the lamb and the uncooked lentils with the water (about 750ml), then leave the whole dish to slow cook for 4-6 hours on low. Add the coriander just before serving.

lamb-dhansak-blog

10.Sholay, or Chickpea Curry, is a great vegetarian slow cooker dish. It's best to use dried chickpeas (that have been soaked overnight) here rather then the pre-cooked tinned stuff as these would probably breakdown too much in a slow cooker. You can also add diced potatoes to produce the dish that my mum made for us! And I'm not going to argue with her...

solay-blog

If this has been enough to get you excited about cooking slow then check out this site for more information, product reviews and other recipes too.

Pre-Order My Slow Cooking Cookbook Now

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Comments

Comments (38)

  • Becky

    Becky

    14 December 2015 at 19:39 |
    Oh my, just came across your site whilst looking for 'slow cooker curry' inspiration (recent house move means cooking is limited to a camping gas hob, slow cooker and microwave). Can't wait to try some of these out, my mouth is watering just reading the recipes!

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      22 December 2015 at 10:28 |
      Hi Becky So pleased to hear that you are loving the recipes! Please let me know if you need any help or advice and I would love to hear all about any dishes you cook. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Max

    Max

    02 January 2016 at 20:12 |
    Having just got a slow cooker for xmas,decided to look for curry recipes as I love cooking curry from scratch.I am so glad I,ve come across your page,can't wait to try some of them out very soon,like tmrw

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      05 January 2016 at 17:28 |
      Hi Max Welcome to the website. I am so glad you have found me. I would love to hear how you get on with the slow cooker and my recipes. Please do keep in touch and let me know what dishes you try. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Noreen

    Noreen

    17 March 2016 at 21:14 |
    Hi can't wait to cook the lamb Bhuna, is it ok to freeze?

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      18 March 2016 at 08:34 |
      Hi Noreen yes you can freeze this one - It has a great flavour so I hope you enjoy it. Let me know how you get on!

      reply

  • Carl

    Carl

    14 April 2016 at 15:59 |
    Hi Hari,
    I have a slow cooker for my motorhome and I have just found your website and your recipes look wonderful. I am going to try your lamb madras and nan bread at the weekend. How long should I cook it for in the slow cooker?. looking forward to making it. Thanks.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      17 April 2016 at 08:59 |
      Hi Carl Sorry I missed your comment. I would leave it for 6-8 hours and it should be really soft and tender - let me know how you get on!

      reply

  • Dot

    Dot

    25 April 2016 at 18:47 |
    Hi My little tennis club is having an Indian/Bollywood night in a month. I usually do the cooking. There will be about 24 people there. I have a 6ltr slow cooker which I haven't used before. Do you have any advice for cooking for this many please in the slow cooker?
    Thanks

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      27 April 2016 at 07:32 |
      Hi Dot Sounds like a blast!! You could use the cooker to do a lovely slow cooked lamb dish but my experience is that you will get about 8 maybe up to 10 portions so you will need to make a few batches. This is fine because curry will be great a few days after you have cooked it. Just be sure to cool it and refrigerate asap. I would also recommend a big pot of dhal - try the red lentil dhal. I always find that a biryani goes a long way so you could do a big one or a couple of smaller ones and then you don't need to do a separate rice dish. Does this help?

      reply

  • Jean leyshon

    Jean leyshon

    06 May 2016 at 12:17 |
    Hiya Hari,I'm terrified of cooking curry,as in my opinion,im no good at it.However,I would really like to make it for my daughter's birthday on Sunday.There would probably be about 13 adults to feed,I wanted to cook the slow cooker chicken curry,so I would have to double the amount of chicken,wouldn't I.I'm just convinced it won't turn out okay,sorry to be a pain.xx

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      06 May 2016 at 15:27 |
      Hi Jean I'm sure you are fine at cooking Indian food - the more you practice the better you will get. Yes, you would need more chicken - I usually go for 2 thigh pieces per adult or one handful of boned meat per person. I'm not sure the slow cooker will be big enough so you may have to do it in 2 big batches. You can do it the night before - this dish is great the day after too. let me know how it comes out.

      reply

  • Jean leyshon

    Jean leyshon

    06 May 2016 at 18:24 |
    Thank you so much for your encouragement,I feel a bit more confident now.xx

    reply

  • sandra smith

    sandra smith

    24 June 2016 at 06:06 |
    Hi
    I am doing a buffet lunch for 30 people I want to pre slow cook 3 curries. One lamb , one chicken and one veg.
    Can you suggest 3 curries that would sit nicely together?

    reply

  • jossy

    jossy

    17 July 2016 at 21:05 |
    Hello Hari,
    Nice recipes, I would like to try your fiery Lamb Madras, by the way are you Tamil or Punjabi?
    Which brand slow cooker would you recommend?

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      18 July 2016 at 15:08 |
      Hi Jossy Thanks for your comment and using the website. I am Punjabi. There are lots out there I like the Cuisinart one, Morphy Richards do a good one too. Let me know how you get on with the madras. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Ian

    Ian

    24 July 2016 at 10:32 |
    Hi, I'm trying to find a slow cooker recipe for chicken tikka masala for my daughters, any ideas would be much appreciated.
    Thanks Ian

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      25 July 2016 at 15:52 |
      Hi Ian you can use my recipe http://www.harighotra.co.uk/chicken-tikka-masala-recipe just go up to step 4 add the tomato and cashew nut paste. Add the marinaded meat (rather than cooking it in the oven) and leave to cook in the slow cooker for 6 hours on high. At the end, you may need to cook on a high heat if it's too liquidy then add the cream and fenugreek at the end. Does this help? Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Budgie

    Budgie

    01 August 2016 at 17:42 |
    I'm pretty sure that chickpeas need to be cooked at a very high temperature for a time to destroy the enzyme that makes people very ill. It's a high temperature that does it, not the amount of time they're cooked for.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      12 August 2016 at 09:52 |
      Hi Budgie Thanks for your comment. You are correct that with many beans you have to be really careful because they contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin this is also known as kidney bean lectin. In kidney beans it is at a very high concentration and ingesting just a few raw, or improperly cooked, kidney beans can make you very sick. Slow cookers don’t heat the beans to a high enough temperature to get rid of the toxin and can actually make it worse. Other beans, such as broad beans, white kidney beans, and lima beans, contain the same toxin in a smaller quantity but it can still be dangerous. All you need to do is boil them for at least10 minutes, drain and then cook in fresh water in the slow cooker. This risk does not apply to chickpeas as the level of the toxin is so small that just washing rids the toxin. If you are still concerned you can use pre-cooked chickpeas from a tin or boil them first for 10 minutes. I hope this helps Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Jignesh

    Jignesh

    12 September 2016 at 15:02 |
    Hi ,

    Can you please provide some slow cook vegetarian options for my wife.

    Much Thanks,
    JP

    reply

  • amy

    amy

    19 September 2016 at 20:15 |
    Hi,
    Can you suggest any indian non curry dishes that can be made using the slow cooker? like, aloo gobi, bhindi? Thanks

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      27 October 2016 at 09:54 |
      Hi Amy Veggies are tricky for slow cooking but yes aloo gobi, aubergine curry, chickpea curry works well too. Does that help? Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Jane

    Jane

    10 October 2016 at 21:32 |
    Hi, I would love a chicken byriani recipe that's suitable to do in a slow cooker.

    Much thanks

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      27 October 2016 at 09:46 |
      Hi Yes you can cook a biryani in a slow cooker. I would use this recipe and but make the masala add the marinaded chicken and layer it up in the slow cooker and leave it to cook for 4 hours. It will work out just fine. http://www.harighotra.co.uk/chicken-biryani-recipe Let me know how you get on. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Anisha

    Anisha

    22 December 2016 at 19:44 |
    Hey, could you give cooking times for these recipes please? I just got a slow cooker a month ago. The few non-Indian dishes I've made with it have turned out great, but I strictly follow recipes and I wouldn't be able to otherwise judge how long something should be slow cooked. These recipes look delicious, and I'm excited to try them, but I wouldn't know where to start with the cook time. In particular I'm talking about chicken, beans and lentils. Do I cook these all on low or high, and for how long? I've read chicken should not be cooked on low. If you could answer, it would be much appreciated, thanks :)

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      03 January 2017 at 11:25 |
      Hi Anisha Thanks you so much for reading and commenting. Generally I would cook these on low for 6-8 hours on high 4-6 hours. It' fine to cook chicken on low too. Does that help? Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Nina Jason

    Nina Jason

    07 June 2017 at 04:11 |
    Nice recipes. I would try.

    reply

  • James

    James

    31 October 2017 at 07:28 |
    Hi. I've got a large mutton shoulder (1.65kilo bone in). I want to do a nice subtly spiced curry in the slow cooker but leaving the shoulder whole & pulling it apart at the end. I could cube it I suppose but this seemed like a cunning plan in my head. Am I mad? If not, got any suggestions (time/spice mix/amount of liquid)? Ta. James

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      31 October 2017 at 08:33 |
      Hi James I have the perfect recipe its in my new cook book - Easy Indian recipes for the slow cooker https://www.harighotra.co.uk/shop/easy-indian-slow-cooker-cook-book. Don't cube it, cook it low and slow so the meat just shreds from the bone. As a treat here is the recipe from the book:

      Curried Pulled Lamb - Masala Gosht
      QUICK PREP | SERVES 6 TO 8
      PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES | COOK TIME: 6 HOURS ON LOW OR 4 HOURS ON HIGH
      I cook dishes like this for family parties all the time because they require very little preparation and the results are spectacular. You can save even more time by marinating the lamb overnight in the refrigerator. This is great when served in wraps, or with Plain Basmati Rice (page 180) or Whole-Wheat Flatbread (page 181). The fresh pomegranate gives a sweet-and-tart punch that is deli- cious with spiced lamb.
      FOR THE MARINADE
      About 4 1⁄4 pounds (2 kg) shoulder of lamb, trimmed
      2 teaspoons cumin seeds
      1 tablespoon coriander seeds
      6 garlic cloves
      1 1⁄2-inch (4-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
      2 fresh green chiles, roughly chopped
      1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
      Sea salt
      1 teaspoon turmeric
      TO MARINADE THE LAMB
      FOR THE LAMB
      2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
      4 onions, sliced
      2 3⁄4-inch (7-cm) piece cassia bark
      6 green cardamom pods
      2 bay leaves
      1 tablespoon grated jaggery (or dark- brown sugar)
      1 tablespoon malt vinegar
      1⁄3 cup (100 mL) hot water
      2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
      1 teaspoon sea salt
      Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
      Handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped
      1 fresh green chile, chopped
      Seeds from
      1 pomegranate
      1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
      1. Make sure the lamb ts in your slow cooker. If it doesn’t, cut it into the largest possible pieces.
      2. Grind the cumin and coriander seeds in your spice grinder. Make a spice
      paste by blending the garlic, ginger, chiles, and chili powder with the ground seeds in a food processor or blender. Add a little water and salt, and then purée until smooth. Stir in the turmeric.
      3. Score the lamb with a sharp knife and rub half of the paste over the meat. Leave to marinate for as long as
      you can.
      TO COOK THE LAMB
      1. Heat the slow cooker to high or to sauté. Add the oil, and then add the onions, cassia bark, cardamom
      pods, and bay leaves. Cook for 5 to
      6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
      2. Add the jaggery and vinegar, and then stir in the remaining spice paste. Add the water to the bowl holding the spice paste and stir to deglaze the bowl and get the last bits. Add the water to the slow cooker. Cook for a few minutes, until the mixture in the cooker is aromatic. en add the tomatoes and salt.
      3. Put the lamb in the slow cooker and coat with the onion mixture. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 4 hours. e lamb should be tender and soft.
      4. Using two large forks or spoons, lift the lamb out onto a cutting board and leave for a few minutes. Use two forks to gently shred the lamb. Place the meat on a wide platter.
      5. Switch the cooker to high and thicken the sauce by reducing it for a few minutes, if necessary. Shoulder can be a very fatty cut, so you may need to skim o the fat from the sauce using a ladle. Remove the cassia bark, cardamom pods, and bay leaves, and then pour the thickened sauce over the shredded meat.
      6. Top with the mint, coriander leaves, chopped chile, pomegranate seeds, and a drizzle of yogurt over the top.
      INGREDIENT TIP: The best way to remove the pomegranate seeds is to slice the fruit in half along the equator. Hold it over a large bowl, cut-side down, and tap the outer skin with the back of a wooden spoon until the seeds pop out.

      reply

  • Antony

    Antony

    19 November 2017 at 10:33 |
    Hi Hari
    I'm so glad to have found your site!
    We love cooking and eating all kinds of Indian food and I've been looking for ways to modify my favourite korahi chicken thigh recipe for a slow cooker.
    I think I'll be trying your methi dish first (Today!) though.
    And your book is now on the top of my Xmas list!
    Antony

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      24 November 2017 at 08:06 |
      Hi Antony - well come to the site - I am pleased you have found us too. Let me know what you think of the dishes and the book. Thanks so much for your comments and I look forward to seeing some food pictures from you soon. Please do also download my app it's free and has loads of recipes you might like! Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Steve

    Steve

    30 December 2017 at 02:49 |
    Hi Hari
    I think you could revise your slow cooker advice for Dhal Makhani. Following this accurately misses the step of boiling the lentils and kidney beans. The Kidney beans in particular are a concern, from what I can find out on the internet these really need to be boiled for 10 minutes to kill the toxins. Having followed the advice above I had to boil the whole lot at the end for 15 minutes after finding out by luck really.
    I have cooked a few of your recipes now and have found every one so far to be excellent. Cheers Steve

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      30 December 2017 at 08:56 |
      Hi Steve Yes you are right the Kidney beans are known to have a toxin which can cause problems. I have put all this in the book but somehow missed it in the blog. Thanks so much - I have amended it in here now. So yes if using raw kidney bean they need to be boiled for 10 minutes before adding to the masala. I am glad you were able to pick this up with your dhal - thanks so much for your feedback! Hari

      reply

  • Brandon

    Brandon

    21 August 2018 at 02:27 |
    Hari, thanks for all great recipes.I am going to be making your Dhal Makhani in the slow cooker, but will be quadrupling the recipe and am unsure about the lentil to water ratio. Presuming 400g of dry urid dhal and 100g of kidney beans, how much water should I add to the slow cooker?

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      13 September 2018 at 09:04 |
      Hi Brandon I'd say about 1.5L water. if you need to thicken it once the time is up put it on high and simmer. Let me know how you get on. Have you seen my slow cooker cook book - might be just what you need http://hari.is/2jeDRSt . Thanks Hari

      reply

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