Chicken and Apricot Masala
Originally from Nigella Lawson's Genius Kitchen.
It makes sense to get all of the ingredients prepared first with this recipe - it's a little more intense than the instructions sound. I spent about 45 minutes getting everything together. It took me longer because I did not get boneless skinless thighs, so I had to de-bone and skin the chicken in addition to measuring and preparing the other ingredients.
Another variant in my preparation was that I couldn't find peanut oil at my grocery store, so I wound up using cold-pressed, unrefined organic coconut oil - it's a high-temperature safe oil just like peanut oil so it should work just fine.
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 4 cloves
- 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
- 4 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste, diluted in 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- Soak apricots overnight in 2 cups cold water, or cover with 2 cups hot water and soak until swollen and softened, 2 to 3 hours. Prepare masala: In a small bowl, combine hot pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, garlic and ginger. Add 1/4 cup water, and stir to make a paste. Set aside.
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat oil and cinnamon stick. Add onions and salt, and sauté until onions begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add masala, and stir. Add chicken, and stir for about 5 minutes. Add apricots and their soaking liquid, diced tomatoes and diluted tomato paste.
- Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Check cooking liquid about halfway through; if chicken is covered with liquid, remove cover for remainder of cooking. Transfer to a large bowl, sprinkle with cilantro and serve hot.