- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 large yellow onions, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 (1-inch) pieces cassia
- 2 whole black cardamom pods
- 3 or 4 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon roasted ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground Indian red chile*
- 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
- 2 whole peeled canned tomatoes, crushed
- ⅓ cup juice from the canned tomatoes
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt, store-bought or homemade
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 serrano chiles, sliced in half lengthwise
- ½ cup dark rum
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- 3 (1½-pound) Cornish hens, skinned and cut into 8 pieces, including wings
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
- Before prepping the ingredients, turn the slow cooker on to the high setting for 15 minutes, until the insert is warmed through.
- In a skillet, heat the oil over high heat, with a lid handy. Tilt the pan to pool the oil and carefully add the cumin seeds; cover immediately to avoid splattering.
- When the sputtering subsides, add the sliced onions and brown for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, cassia, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaf to the browned onions and sauté for 1 minute before transferring to the slow cooker.
- Set the skillet aside. In the bowl of the cooker, combine the sautéed onions with the ground coriander and cumin, turmeric, red chile, fresh and canned tomatoes, tomato juice, yogurt, salt, serrano chiles, rum, and saffron. Mix well.
- Use the saved skillet to sear the hen pieces in batches; place them in the slow cooker and turn them in the spice mix. Arrange them as uniformly as possible. Turn the cooker to low, cover, and cook for 3½ hours.
- Turn the cooker to warm, and remove the cassia pieces, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaf. Stir in the cilantro when ready to serve.
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