Good company does not produce good photos–in fact the opposite. I was so busy yakking when I served this dish to my friend Jessie that I never even noticed I didn’t photograph it plated. Which is a real shame, because it is succulent and delicious. A serious repeater. I found it in the excellent (and great for beginners!) At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Sticky and fragrant, it’s the kind of Indian dish I would confidently serve to anyone who thought they did not like Indian food–maybe even my dad (!).
A note about serving: I’m the kind of laid back cook who expects her guests to fish out the peppercorns (sad but true), but if this bothers you be aware you need to remove them.
- 4 T vegetable oil
- heaping ½ t brown mustard seeds
- ¼ t fenugreek (methi) seeds
- 1 t whole black peppercorns
- 20 fresh curry leaves
- 1½ large onions, thinly sliced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2½ lbs chicken thighs
- 1¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- salt to taste
- 1½ t ground cumin
- 1 T ground coriander
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 T paprika
- 1 T brown sugar
- Choose a pan wide enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Heat over medium high heat with the oil in it. Add the mustard seeds and cover the pan while they pop. When they are finished, add the fenugreek seeds and peppercorns. A few seconds later add the curry leaves--stand back, they will splatter! Let the spices cook, stirring, for about a minute.
- Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
- Add the spices and the vinegar and stir. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and add them to the pan in a single layer. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the chicken this way for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and crank the heat up to a brisk boil (high). Add the brown sugar and boil the liquid until it evaporates, leaving behind caramelized chicken (another 10 minutes or so). Taste for salt. Serve with rice, flatbread, or on in its own.
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