Simple enough to prepare for mid-week, this delivers plenty of flavour. Keep the budget in control by serving with lentils or rice.
6 skinned and boned chicken thighs
6 cardamom pods, split, seeds extracted
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp chilli powder
Flaky sea salt
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Piece of ginger, double the size of your thumb, peeled and coarsely grated (about 15g/half an oz)
1 cup crushed or chopped canned tomatoes
Plain unsweetened yoghurt and chopped coriander (cilantro) for serving
Cooked lentils and naan bread for serving (optional)
1 Prepare chicken thighs (see Recipe Notes below). Mix cardamom seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, chilli powder and ½ teaspoon of salt together. Rub into chicken thighs and leave them for up to 15 minutes at room temperature, or longer, refrigerated.
2 Put ½ teaspoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of water in a gratin pan, cast iron casserole or Dutch oven of appropriate size to hold the chicken thighs, set it over a low heat and add garlic and ginger, cover with a lid and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until tender but not coloured. Turn off the heat.
3 Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add chicken thighs when oil is hot, putting what was their skin side face down. Brown well, but don’t let spices burn. Brown briefly on the other side, just for 1-2 minutes; they don’t have to be cooked all the way through as they will continue cooking in the next step. Season with a little salt. Transfer chicken thighs to pan with garlic and ginger. Add tomatoes, and bring everything to a gentle bubble. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until chicken thighs are tender and just cooked through.
4 Serve chicken thighs topped with dollops of yoghurt and plenty of chopped coriander (cilantro).
As always, you need to look over chicken thighs to remove visible fat, or as much of it as you can, because the fat will not necessarily cook down by the time the thighs are cooked, and it adds nothing good to the dish.
The chicken thighs can be rubbed with spices and kept refrigerated overnight, but bring to room temperature before cooking.
Olive oil is my preference for cooking, so I have used it here in this spicy dish, but you can use whatever oil you like. Remember though, olive and avocado oils are the only two unprocessed edible oils. Every other oil, vegetable or seed, has to be processed in some way to make it edible. That’s something to think about isn’t it …