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Chicken Thighs in Tomato-Ginger Sauce

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Serves 4

  • by Dabney Gough from Fine Cooking
    Issue 121

Seasoned with warm spices, this Indian-inspired chicken dish is savory and comforting. The butter swirled into the sauce may seem like an unusual addition, but it adds richness and flavor, and softens the tomatoes’ acidity. Serve with basmati rice or naan.

  • 8 small, boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil; more as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 15-oz. cans fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Brown half of the chicken, flipping once, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more oil if the pan looks dry.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until golden-brown on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes, increase the heat to medium high, and simmer vigorously until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and any accumulated juice. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, reduce the heat, and simmer until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to plates or a platter. Stir the butter into the sauce until incorporated and season to taste with salt. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnish with the cilantro, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 390; Fat (g): 21; Fat Calories (kcal): 190; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 32; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): 20; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): 810; Cholesterol (mg): 175; Fiber (g): 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

My 5 year old declared it "the yummiest dinner ever". At the point I started to make it, the finecooking.com sever was down so I had to make the recipe from memory of reading through it once. As a result, I omitted the cinnamon (oops) and the cayenne (which I would have used only a dash or two of anyway). It was still superb.* Even my husband who doesn't like Indian food raved. A total keeper. *I also salted the raw chicken and let it sit in the fridge for several hours before I started cooking . This is something I do religiously with all meats: I let them dry brine.

Really tasty. I would make it a bit spicier next time but it was still very good.

This recipe is excellent! I use all organic products and bulk spices from our local organic foods co-op. I did need to use a very small amount of salt to taste once it was on my plate.

Loved this Indian inspired chicken. I had everything on hand so I followed the recipe to a T. Delicious, wouldn't change a thing! Served it with Saag Paneer & Naan. Was great leftover too.

I was so very disappointed. After reading the rave reviews, I thought I'd try it since I had everything on hand. I followed the recipe exactly. It was spicy but flat. Something was missing. Mine looked exactly like the photo. I will not be making this again. This is the first fine cooking recipe that was a bust for me! We ended up throwing it out and had sandwiches for dinner.

This was easy and delicious! Spicey with a little heat, but not too much. Took no time at all to put together. Served 3 of us nicely. The only things I didn't have on hand but were easy to pick up were the garam massala, a knob of ginger and a package of naan. Used air chilled thighs which I find to be moist and flavorful. Served with TJ's frozen wild rice medley and used warm naan to sopp up the sauce and make little wraps of goodness. A light citrus salad would be a nice accompaniment. The cilantro is an excellent addition at the end, don't skip it unless you really don't like it. It complements and finishes the sauce. This would be perfect to make ahead for a crowd. A keeper!

I made this as directed. It was delicious. I served it with naan and we devoured this meal.

What a wonderful melding of favors and spices! We enjoyed this very much tonight. I had to make my own garam masala and didn't have cardemon, but nonetheless, was a wonderful, warm dinner. Agree with previous posting that it is certainly an hour prep and cook, not 30 min. Did it over sushi rice and basic, frozen sweet corn on the side. Corn was nice sweet to the spices. Will be interested to see how leftovers taste tomorrow.

Very good but I changed this according to what I had on hand including boneless/skinless chicken breasts, ground ginger (2 tsp), and parsley instead of cilantro. I liked the small amount of cayenne but my wife said it was certainly "spicy". These menus are supposed to be 30 minute meals but with the prep time it always seems more like an hour.

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