To learn more about this recipe, read the related story, "Whole in One".
Chicken in Whole Spices
Recipe adapted from Monisha Bharadwaj, "Healthy Indian Cooking" (Carlton)
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 30 minutes
4 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
2 dried bay leaves
4 whole green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
7 whole cloves
2 dried red chiles
4 small chicken breasts (about 1¼ pounds), boned, skinned and cut into ¾-inch pieces
8 garlic cloves, peeled
½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and thinly sliced into matchsticks
¾ cup frozen pearl onions (or fresh, peeled pearl onions)
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon sea salt
⅔ cup hot water
1¼ cups whole milk or low-fat plain yogurt, lightly beaten
Flatbread (such as naan or pita), for serving
1. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the oil. Heat until the oil is smoking, then add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, caraway seeds, cloves and chiles. Once the spices start to sizzle, after about 5 seconds, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic, ginger, onions, cilantro, mint, turmeric and salt. Pour in the hot water and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 15 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the yogurt. Cook gently until the yogurt is heated through (don't let the yogurt simmer; otherwise it could curdle), 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve the chicken with the flatbread.