Spice Box Chicken

June 2, 2011

This chicken is so good, very moist and easy to make too.

You need;
3 large green mild chillies
3 large garlic cloves
5cm piece of fresh root ginger
a bunch of fresh coriander
200g carton of full-fat Greek yogurt
2 medium onions
8 medium bone-in chicken thighs (I used boneless which was fine)
2 tbsp groundnut or corn oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seed
a good knob of butter

Chilli-ginger garnish , to serve;
1 red chilli
2cm piece fresh root ginger
juice of 1 lime
Split and seed the chilli and slice into seriously thin matchsticks.
Peel the ginger and slice very thinly, then stack the slices and cut them into the same size strips as the chilli. Put all the strips in a bowl, add in the lime juice and stir to mix.

1. Cut down the length of the green chillies, then remove the seeds by scraping them out with a teaspoon. 
Cut off the stalk ends, chop the chillies into rough pieces, chop the garlic and add to the chillies, then do the same with the ginger and smash them together in a pestle and mortar.

2. Pick the leaves off the coriander and put with the chilli mix in a blender (reserve the stems for the garnish). Tip in the yogurt and blitz everything to a puree.

3. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onions. 
Heat the oil in a saute pan over a medium heat until hot – when you drop in a spice seed or two it should sizzle.
Toss in the fennel and cumin seeds and let them crackle and pop for 10-20 seconds, stirring all the time so they don’t burn.
This is my favourite part, the smell of the seeds toasting is amazing.

4. Throw in the butter and let it melt, then throw in the sliced onions and turn the heat down.
Stir to mix the onions and spice seeds, then cook for about 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft and tinged golden brown.

5. Push the onions to one side of the pan, then add the chicken thighs, smooth side down.
Increase the heat to between medium and high and fry the chicken until it’s golden brown on both sides.
This should take about 10-15 minutes and you will need to turn the pieces over halfway.
Watch carefully in case the onions start to brown too much – if they do, pile them up on top of the chicken.

6. Stir in some of the yogurt mixture and cook until it disappears – repeat a dollop at a time.
Whizz 150ml/¼ pint cold water in the blender to use the last bits of the mixture and add to the pan with a pinch of salt.
Stir until bubbling, scraping up any crispy bits.

7. Reduce the heat to its lowest and cover the pan tightly.
Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is tender when pierced, stirring and turning halfway and adding a splash of hot water if the sauce is too dry.
Serve sprinkled with finely chopped coriander stems and a little chilli garnish and yogurt.

Serve with brown rice for a healthy dinner, if you ignore the frying. You can always reduce or leave out the oil and butter.

I would also add if you are a spice fan you could add more chillies, it’s not hot spicy, more of a warm dish.

This is Roopa Gulati’s recipe you can follow her here.

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