19 August 2013

IHCC - Chicken with Sliced Lemon and Fried Onions

It's pot luck week here at I Heart Cooking Club and I couldn't resist going back to a Madhur Jaffrey cook book that I love. I've been wanting to make a spicy chicken dish to have with caraway rice and some garden vegetables ever since taking the camera out to my flower beds. I was taking pictures of the flowers the other day and all the vibrant marigolds reminded me of India and Indian cuisine. Since then, I have been telling SB that we were due for some spicy Indian dinners.

I credit Madhur Jaffrey with introducing Indian spices and cooking techniques to me and my kitchen. I saw her on television several years ago and was interested in the blends of spices, the way sauces are cooked over high heat and concentrated before adding liquids for simmering meats and vegetables or lentils and beans ... when I found one of her cook books, I began really exploring the ways of Indian cooking. I'm still very much the novice, but her book has given me so many recipes to try and I have never tired of exploring the pages.

By the time the sauce had simmered to a thick slurry around these chicken thighs, the fried onions were beautifully caramelized and ready for topping and the whole house smelled of coriander and cinnamon, cumin, and tomatoes. We had the chicken and sauce with buttery caraway steamed rice and green beans.
So good ...

I am including Madhur Jaffrey's recipe, but know that I decreased it by half and used chicken thighs instead of the whole chicken ... it made for a one meal spread for SB and I. Cooking for two is always a challenge, but I manage to cut things back most evenings so we are not inundated with leftovers.

Chicken with Sliced Lemons and Fried Onions
a Madhur Jaffrey recipe

Serves 4 - 6


3 – 3 ½ lb chicken, cut into pieces
3 onions, mid-sized
A 1-inch chunk of ginger root, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
8 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. plain yogurt
4 tbsp. tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cloves
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 ½ to 2 c. water
1 whole lemon, sliced and seeds removed
1 tbsp. sugar
⅛ tsp. black pepper

Making the Dish:

  1. Remove the skin from all the chicken pieces and pat the meat dry. Set aside.
  2. Peel the onions and chop two of them coarsely. Place them and the chopped ginger and garlic cloves in a blender bowl with 6 tbsp. water. Whiz them to form a smooth paste.
  3. Halve the last onion from top to bottom and then slice the halves thinly into half moons.
  4. Heat 6 tbsp. of the canola oil measure in a deep fry pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion half moons and fry them until they are deep golden brown and crispy. Scoop them from the oil and drain them on paper towels. Set them aside.
  5. Lay the chicken in the same pan and let it fry quickly to a golden brown on all sides, but don’t cook the pieces completely. Just get them colored up good.
  6. Remove them to a platter and set them aside.
  7. Add the last 2 tbsp. of canola oil to the hot pan and let it get hot … then carefully add the onion, garlic, ginger paste. Be careful because it will spatter, so turn your face away and stir the sauce vigorously for the first few seconds .
  8. Cook the paste for about ten minutes, stirring it frequently … until it takes on a beautiful golden brown color.
  9. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  10. Add the yogurt a bit at a time, stirring well between additions. Then do the same with the tomato sauce.
  11. Add the salt, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, and 1½ cups water. Bring the sauce to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer the sauce for ten minutes.
  12. Cut the lemon into five thick slices and remove the seeds.
  13. Lay the chicken pieces and their juices back into the pan of sauce. Sprinkle on the sugar, black pepper, lemon slices. Cover and simmer the chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the sauce thickens too much, add a bit more water to keep things simmering around the chicken. Cook until the chicken is tender.
  14. Plate the chicken and pour the sauce around it, arrange the lemon slices over top and sprinkle around the fried onions.
  15. Serve with steamed rice and a vegetable side dish.

So there you have it! Now, I wonder what everyone else is contributing for this week's pot luck!
Check out the I Heart Cooking Club link right here !! 


  1. I love Indian food and Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks. Unfortunately, my picky eater husband won't go near Indian food, though I do think he would enjoy Naan bread if I either make it or get him to walk into an Indian restaurant! This dish looks wonderful.

  2. All of the spices in this make me so so so happy! You picked a great Maddhur Jaffrey recipes for this week!

  3. I am a huge fan as well. I remember making a delicious chicken dish of hers when we did the 50 Women Game Changers.

  4. Hi Susan,
    I'm a huge fan of Madhur too! Her curry dishes are wonderful and so far have been happy with those recipes that I've tried! This looks delicious, the lemon makes an interesting flavour to this dish! Lovely potluck, I'll be coming by with an empty plate! Yums!

  5. I love your choice. This looks like a super chicken dish.

    So far, I have tried 4 times to get this through. Some of the numbers to copy were not even there. This is really a nuisance. I don't know but is it that important?

  6. Beautiful serving and photos. Unfortunately I can not eat spicy but the Indian dishes still look so pretty!

  7. Madhur Jaffrey is one of my all time favourite cooks and I love her books. She used to have a food TV programme over here in the UK and I loved watching them... ahhh the aroma your kitchen must have smelt incredible... looks beautiful x

  8. Like you, I'm new to Madhur Jaffrey but fast becoming a big fan. This recipe with its combination of spices with lemon and yogurt looks and sounds delicious.

  9. Anything with lemon has my vote. And those onions look to die for!

  10. OK, that confirms it - we are officially pigs in our household. I frequently make the whole recipe, described as serving 4 people, and the two of us usually manage to scoff the lot - leftovers are a bonus!!

    That aside, I love Madhur Jaffreys flavours, and this dish looks like no exception - and, I'm with Michelle, I go mad for anything with lemons.

  11. That looks sinfully delicious!

    I love that you find and introduce these cooks/chefs to us!

    Have a lovely weekend!

  12. That looks like one delicious dinner--love how thick and wonderful that sauce is.


Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Please be aware that due to spamming concerns, I must be able to track back.