At various times throughout this meal, I assumed failure. I hardly ever make curry, especially an African-based one I found in The Ethnic Paris Cookbook. But it looked so easy that I had to give it shot, even if my instincts were rebelling. For one, besides some cloves, it only uses turmeric for spice. To act as some kind of insurance, I tossed out my aging old plastic bottle of the yellow spice and bought a brand new bottle from my local outlet of Penzeys Spice. Still, I had doubts.
I worried that the chicken was cooking for too long, that the spices wouldn’t amount to anything, and that I had added entirely too much onion. But that insecurity fell away as it started to simmer. It’s not a spicy, pungent curry, but more of an aromatic, earthy dish. It actually reminded me of an insanely delicious version of the chicken and rice dishes I used to pick up in New York street carts. The tomatoes give it a little more body, and the clove balances everything else out.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 whole chicken thighs, cut into three pieces
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 4 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup water
- Salt and pepper
Crush the garlic with the cloves using a mortar and pestle, or the side of a knife.
Pour the oil in a skillet and turn the heat to high. Toss in the chicken pieces and brown on all sides, just a couple minutes. Add the minced onions and cook until translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the turmeric and the garlic mixture and stir until incorporated. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and thyme, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Pour in the water and cook for another 30 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve. I had mine with some nice rice. But it’s up to you.