Simple and healthy spicy chicken thighs
This is a recipe that I made for the first time as a treat for my Valentine last week. It was a last minute idea so it really can be made with the help of a few trusty ingredients that hopefully most cooks would keep in the fridge / cupboard. You can adapt depending on how hot you like it or the mix of spices and herbs that you like to use. I got the idea from a recipe from BBC's Good Food magazine (baked chicken masala ), which uses chicken breast. I prefer chicken thighs and slow cooking where curry is involved!
Chicken thighs - 2 to 3 per person, skinless
Tomatoes, sliced into halves or chunky quarters
Onions, thick slices
Patak's Vindaloo paste (tamarind and ginger is a nice one) - about 1 tbsp
Red chilli - finely chopped or in rings if you prefer a crunch and a kick!
2 x bay leaves, slightly crumpled
1. Place the chilli, sliced tomatoes and onions in a large roasting tin with oil and sprinkle with turmeric and garam masala and ground cumin - about a teaspoon each I suppose but you can experiment. Shake the tin to cover them, pop in a couple of bay leaves and place in a pre-heated oven (about 160 centigrade).
2. Leave them to start cooking and for the spices to release flavours whilst you skin the chicken thighs, if needed, and mix in a bowl with the Vindaloo paste, some oil (just enough to make the paste a bit runny over the chicken) and top up with a dash or two of water from the tap.
3. Turn the tomatoes and onions after about 10 - 15 minutes and nestle the chicken thighs amongst them, smearing the paste over the whole tray and sprinkling further spices if you feel it is necessary. Cover with foil and cook at 140 - 160 (depending on how long you want them to take) for about 30 minutes. Check and turn them throughout, if you are worried about the timing.
4. Meanwhile, I prepare potato wedges to go with this - sliced potatoes with skin on on a baking tray with oil, salt and pepper and sometimes a bit of spice, like dried or fresh chillies or a dash of paprika. They'll take between 30 and 50 minutes at about 180, so adjust the time accordingly if you want to cook at a lower temperature. Turn regularly to avoid sticking.
5. When the chicken is just cooked through remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes (approximately). By this point the liquid should have absorbed and the chicken is slightly sticky in a lovely dark, baked Indian marinade. The juice from the tomatoes makes it moist and saucy.
6. Sprinkle with coriander leaf and serve with wedges or rice if you prefer. I like to serve with an al dente green vegetable, like broccoli. Serve with yoghurt if you have it, but its equally as yummy without!
p.s. the dish in the photos was made using half a can of chopped tomatoes, added with the chicken, as I had run out of fresh tomatoes! Was just as delicious!