Chicken and Apricot Masala

Originally from Nigella Lawson's Genius Kitchen.

Prepared Ingredients

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.


Chicken Masala
Chicken Tika Masala


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.