Thursday, July 10, 2014

Moroccan Chicken / Chicken Tagine / Chicken with Apricot

 As much as I am starting to discover I am becoming more exited and hooked to the African and Lebanese cuisine that is so much available here. The rich, hot and spicy dishes are something that I will always love to have on my plate. A recent discovery on this journey was this Moroccan Chicken. With a mixture of sweet, sour and hot flavors this dish stands out with its own culture.

This is normally cooked in Tagine, an earthen pot to slow cook the chicken in one pot. But since I am yet to put a hand on it I did it in a dutch oven. Obviously there will be some compromises in the flavor but I am looking forward to overlook that. The recipe that I am sharing here is the very basic one. I will get you posted with the other ones as I will cook them in the near future.

Dish Reminder:
  • Chicken Tagine is basically a stewed chicken dish. Therefore it has a runny and more liquid gravy. But since I like thicker ones I always tend to simmer them more than they are required to evaporate the excess water and make them dry. But one can go ahead and add some diluted cornstarch to the gravy to make the gravy thicker.

  • I have used dried as well as fresh apricot, but you can used prunes / dried plums. Both are used in making Moroccan Chicken. Plumes are a good replacement for apricot. You can also add olives in this dish.
  • Some people like to have cooked onion slices in their dish. But I am more of a gravy person. So I prefer to use pastes along with the chopped ones.The gravy is made from the onion and tomato and oil.

Moroccan Chicken / Chicken Tagine / Chicken with Apricot
Serves 3/4

  • 4 chicken leg pieces (You can use any piece. This is to give an idea of the quantity of the chicken. This is what I use because we always buy chicken legs and boneless chicken.)
  • 1 onion - sliced
  • 1/2 onion - paste
  • 1 tomato - chopped/sliced/paste
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 4-5 dried apricots - halved
  • 3 fresh apricots - halved
  • 5 dates - halved
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne powder / powdered dried red chili
  • 1 tsp crushed black peppercorn
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 4 tsp paprika(preferred. But in case of non-availability you can use red chili powder.)
  • 5 cups of chicken broth / stock
  • salt
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • I prefer to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours. 4 hours of marination will be very good for the dish.
  • Marinate the chicken using half of the spices, salt, half of the ginger-garlic paste and with onion paste.
  • Now take the pan/dutch oven and heat oil in it.
  • Add the chicken pieces and make them a little golden on both sides. After that keep them aside.
  • Put the onions and ginger-garlic paste in the remaining oil in the pan. Add more if necessary.
  • Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the tomato paste.
  • Stir a little.
  • Now add the chicken, salt and the rest of the marination mixture and all the rest of the spices.
  • Mix them evenly.
  • Then add the apricots, dates and chicken stock.
  • Mix them evenly and put cover.
  • Simmer for 1 to 1 and half hours. Check in between to see how much the chicken has been cooked.
  • When the chicken is soft and tender and the gravy is properly cooked, taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Make the gravy as per your preference. I like the chicken dry so as you can see from the photos it is very thick.
  • Sprinkle coriander leaves and serve hot.

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