Paleo Garam Masala Chicken Stew

The inspiration for this recipe was the cold, damp weather we’ve been experiencing in Georgia and my Better Homes and Gardens Skinny Slow Cooker magazine.  I have also enjoyed using the Garam Masala that I purchased from Penzeys Spice Catalog, so any recipe that includes this spice will pique my interest.  The components of Garam Masala vary, and mine is a Punjabi Style (a region of Pakistan and India) that contains coriander, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, charnushka (means “black seed” and has a slightly peppery flavor), caraway, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.  This spice has enhanced recipes like my Paleo Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs, and pairs deliciously with chicken and a little coconut milk in this recipe.

This is a slow cooker recipe that delivers in flavor and in simplicity.  I don’t always sear chicken before putting it in a slow cooker, but searing the chicken thighs in this recipe adds a depth in the flavor and helps the chicken maintain its integrity throughout the cooking process.  The most time-consuming aspect of this recipe will be preparing the sweet potatoes, and that will only take a few minutes!  The great thing about this recipe is that both the onion and sweet potato are cut into larger pieces, which cuts down on prep time.  You can also save more time by leaving the skin of the sweet potato on.  As long as you’ve cleaned the outside of the sweet potato well, it can add a pleasant textural contrast to the rest of the dish.

I used both canned and fresh tomatoes.  I chose to add a few plum tomatoes to substitute for the peas that I omitted from the original recipe.  It added a little more color, texture and flavor to the dish.  You may absolutely use canned tomatoes only, but I was lucky enough to have found delicious hothouse tomatoes from Sam’s Club – even in the winter!

I served this dish with chopped napa cabbage for added freshness and texture.  Napa cabbage is a fabulous ingredient.  One head of cabbage lasts a long time in the fridge, and it is a very mild flavor that pairs well with many things!  It gets slightly wilted in this stew, but it adds just the right amount of freshness.  I also topped it with a drizzle of Sriracha for extra heat, but feel free to add your favorite hot sauce or omit the extra spice altogether!


  • 1.5-2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz) can rotel mild tomato sauce with green chiles
  • 2-3 fresh plum tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • optional: napa cabbage, chopped


  • 1. Heat coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium/med-high heat
  • 2. Add chicken thighs, and brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes
  • 3. Place chicken in slow cooker
  • 4. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, coconut milk, and stir gently
  • 5. Add sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, tomatoes, pepper, garam masala, salt, then stir gently to mix ingredients thoroughly
  • 6. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 1/2 hours
  • 7. Enjoy!